State politicians Victor Crist and Kevin Ambler hold a Town Hall meeting

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As a lead-up to the Legislative session that begins next week, local politicians are holding town hall style meetings.

Last night Republican State Sen Victor Crist, and Republican State House Rep. Kevin Ambler held a town hall meeting in Carrollwood to seek input on how state government can better meet the public’s needs.

The struggling economy, health care funding, and public safety issues were hot topics at last night’s town hall meeting. Offshore drilling is a controversial topic in Tallahassee, and Ambler noted that the state is a long way from reaching consensus.

The state is facing a $3 billion revenue shortfall, and the Legislature meets beginning March 2 to decide the budget.

And Sen. Crist said that spending cutbacks will have to be less like wielding an ax, and more like strategic surgery, to make sure critical funding remains intact.

When asked about his plan to create jobs in Florida, Kevin Ambler mentioned his success in bringing a Hollywood production company to the state.

Lee Vaughn was one of several Carrollwood residents who voiced concerns about cell phone tower sites that have been built adjacent to schools within residential neighborhoods. Vaughn is concerned with the potential decrease in his property value, since the towers have been built so close to his home. He said that Stacy Frank of Collier Enterprises II, a lobbyist for the cell phone companies, once designed the setbacks for the towers.

The company plans to build hundreds of towers. Vaughn also worries about the potentially adverse public health affects from the radio waves.

Ambler said that the community should stand up to the developer, and say, “not in my backyard.”

After eight years in the Florida House, Ambler is term limited out, and plans to run for the Florida Senate.

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