October 12, 2016 Kathleen Mick Peters, a Republican from South Pasadena representing Pinellas House District 69, has been selected as the Bay Area Apartment Association Legislator of the Year.
Rep. Peters district includes Pinellas beach towns from Redington Shores south plus Gulfport and the unincorporated towns of Lealman and Kenneth City. She was first elected in 2012 after serving as mayor of South Pasadena and as a city commissioner prior to that. She was VP of Public Policy for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce from 2009 until her election to the Legislature, and she worked as development director of the YMCA prior to that. She has a BA from Eckerd College in Human Development.
In the 2016 session, Rep. Peters sponsored and had passed a series of bills – all of which were signed into law – that will remake the landscape of substance abuse and mental health treatment across the state for years to come, and which attempt to supplant the criminal justice system as the de facto dumping ground for people who suffer from lack of treatment.
“We were supposed to create a community system of mental health care after we closed down all the asylums in the 60s and the 70s,” Peters said. “But we didn’t. Mental illness and addiction have gripped society because there is no system to do prevention and intervention other than the law enforcement and criminal justice system, which is totally overwhelmed.”
The measures deal with required timeframes for competency and commitment hearings; allows physicians in all counties rather than ones of certain population size to provide a second opinion for treatment facility admission; and require all Florida counties to devise a plan for affected residents to enter the mental health or substance abuse treatment system through any door in the system.
Rep. Peters, running for her third term, faces Democrat opponent Jennifer Webb in the general election Nov. 8.
Peters will receive the association’s recognition at its annual awards dinner on Dec. 9. State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Hillsborough County, was the award recipient in 2015.
BAAA currently serves apartment community members totaling more than 130,000 units in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Highlands, Hernando, Pasco, Sumter and Citrus counties to provide efficient and consistent service to the renting public by providing owners, managers, and suppliers with information, education and training that will enhance their professional skills. For more information about BAAA, visit baahq.org.