District 57

Both candidates in this district, which covers southeastern Hillsborough, are intelligent, likable and enthusiastic.

Democrat Bruce Barnett, who manages a trucking logistics operation in Brandon, is a Florida native and Army veteran with an advanced business degree.

He understands the challenges of small businesses, but knows sensible regulations are needed to protect consumers and taxpayers.

Like many parents, he worries about cuts to schools and the continued emphasis on “high stakes testing.” Barnett, 49, believes using tax dollars to offer job-creating incentives to companies is usually a waste.

Jake Raburn, 27, is a strawberry farmer who works for Hinton Farms Produce, and earlier worked for the Florida Department of Citrus.

Naturally, the University of Florida graduate has a strong command of agriculture’s concerns. He advocates a new guest-worker program that would help workers and farmers but not allow illegal immigrants to flout the law.

But he also is a critic of duplicative regulation and would make job growth a top priority.

Both are appealing candidates. Barnett is more knowledgeable on growth and education issues, but Raburn offers the valuable perspective of a farmer and seems well-connected to the district. This is a close call, but in District 57, the Tribune endorses Jake Raburn.

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