A harrowing experience involving his wife Iris’ health led Troy Stevenson to explore response times and the needs of Pasco’s Fire Rescue and Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), which led him to think about their needs in relation to the massive growth in Wesley Chapel, which led him to think about traffic and roads and development.
And where did all of that lead him? Right into the Pasco County District 2 Commissioner’s race to replace the Mike Moore who has announced he is not seeking re-election.
“It all got me thinking,” says Stevenson, “about how I could help.”
Stevenson, a registered Republican and Land O’Lakes resident for the last 20 years, entered the race in February and held his kickoff event April 6 at Design & Construction Innovators, the office of North Tampa Bay Chamber Board member Roberto Suarez. Roughly 75 supporters showed up.
“I know I’m the underdog,” he says of what is now a three-candidate race, “but I’ve received so much support that I’m starting to feel like I’m not the underdog anymore.”
You may not know Stevenson’s face, but you’ve almost certainly seen his ACME On The Go trucks — which are those high-definition LED mobile billboards — driving around the county.
In fact, Stevenson, an active, involved member of both the Wesley Chapel Rotary Club and the North Tampa Bay Chamber, has used those trucks to support a number of causes, raising tens of thousands of dollars over the years for a variety of projects and businesses. The trucks operate as a billboard, but have also shown movies at some local charity events, whether for kids with cancer or Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco’s K-9 Officer program. He also has helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
That’s one of the things he says separates him from the other Dist. 2 candidates, race favorite Troy Weightman and Cynthia Zimmer. While both have political experience, Stevenson says he has been more of a boots-on-the-ground guy, literally getting his hands dirty behind the scenes with community involvement — he has been an active part of FEMA’s National Disaster Medical System group for 16 years, and has been among the first people on the scene following many major hurricanes, including Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Maria (2017).
“Katrina changed my life,” Troy says about having being deployed to New Orleans for two weeks. “It’s when I became a Christian and made me more thankful for my family and for people who help others.”
Troy is complimentary of the current Pasco Board of Commissioners (BOC) and says they have done a “phenomenal” job. If elected, he would like to continue along much the same path that Moore has paved.
But, he also says he would like to see the BOC become more proactive when it comes to infrastructure. And, while he is a believer in development, he also thinks the Board has to provide for the police, first responders and local residents who have to get around on heavily-populated roads.
“It feels like they (the BOC) are always playing catch up,” Stevenson says. “I’m not political. I’m analytical. I see things that need to be done and I am always ready to jump in and help.”
Weightman has collected a number of big endorsements, including Moore’s, as the Republican Party has coalesced behind him.
Stevenson says he has been endorsed by former Pasco County Clerk of Court Paula O’Neill, who spoke on his behalf at the kickoff event, but adds that he doesn’t place much emphasis on endorsements.
He has already put $50,000 of his own money into his campaign coffers, and hopes that those who know him and have benefitted from his community efforts will turn out at the polls for the August 23 primary.
“I don’t need the money, I don’t need the popularity,” Stevenson says. “I just feel deep in my heart that I want to help the county, and help the people in the place I live and love.”
For more info, visit TroyforPasco.com.