PALM HARBOR – The Florida Professional Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police District 3 have endorsed Julie Peluso for her re-election as Palm Harbor Fire Commissioner, Seat 2.
In a statement released on Oct. 3, Tom Porter, director of FOP-District 3, stated the unanimous decision by the professional organization was based upon Peluso’s “commitment to public safety and the desire to improve working conditions for law enforcement in Pinellas County.”
Jim Tolley, president and CEO of Florida Professional Firefighters, said his members believe Peluso “will continue to honorably serve the citizens of Palm Harbor, and the interests of the men and women employed in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who have made the protection of life and property their life’s work.”
Peluso, a 30-year veteran of the real estate business who once served as president and owner of United Home Mortgage, has been vice chairman of the Palm Harbor Fire Commission since 2006. The commission oversees Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, which in addition to Palm Harbor serves Crystal Beach, Ozona and Indian Bluffs Island.
Peluso’s bid for another term on the five-member Fire Commission is opposed by Patrick Bengston. The nonpartisan race will be decided during the Nov. 6 General Election.
Peluso also serves on the Executive Board of Pinellas County’s EMS Advisory Council and is an Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas board member, where she serves as chair of the Program Planning and Development Committee.
In an interview, Peluso said she is thrilled to have the support of the first-responders represented by the professional organizations.
“I am very humbled to receive this because I think so highly of our firefighters and law enforcement officers,” Peluso said. “I serve my community and have tremendous respect for others, and our firefighters and police officers devote their lives to serving their communities. A lot of leaders have endorsed me, but when it comes to this position, these recommendations I take very seriously. It made my day.”
Peluso said her next four-year term would be her last, should she be re-elected in November. When asked why she chose to run again, Peluso said she felt she still had more to give back to the area she has called home since 1975.
“I feel at some point you have to give back to the community. It’s part of being a good citizen, I believe,” she said, adding she enjoys knocking on doors and meeting people while campaigning.
She added: “The Fire Commission is a once-a-month meeting, but I take it beyond that. If I am blessed to serve another four-year term, I’d like to search for a successor to give them the knowledge they will need to handle the position. The next four years are critical, with possible funding changes on the horizon, and it takes expertise and knowledge to navigate through the challenging times.”