Former representative runs again for Florida House in District 24

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Posted January 11, 2023 | By Caroline Brauchler

Charlie Stone is no stranger to holding public office. So, when the District 24 seat of the Florida House of Representatives was vacated, the veteran Republican legislator felt he would be the most experienced person for the job.

Stone, 74, is running in a special election for the seat vacated by Ocala Republican Joe Harding after his resignation. Harding resigned on Dec. 8 after being indicted by a federal grand jury on several counts of fraud based on illegally obtaining pandemic-related loans. The primary special election, declared by the governor, will take place on March 7. A general special election will take place on May 16 if needed.

From 2012-2020, Stone served in the Florida House for District 22 before it was redistricted. He was a member of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners from 2004-2012. Stone’s wife, Michelle Stone, has been a Marion County commissioner since 2016.

“I’ve been there, done that,” said Stone. “Picking up the ball and running with it from day one would be a real advantage to this district and to Marion County.”

Stone said if elected again, one of his main priorities would be making affordable housing more accessible in this area.

“My plan would be to figure out a system so that if a developer had a tract of land and was developing density units on it, they would be required to set aside a certain amount of that density to affordable housing,” he said.

During his time in the Florida House, Stone also focused on improving water quality and infrastructure. He sponsored bills to benefit water management and appropriate money toward wastewater systems.

“I’ve always been an advocate for water and sewer,” he said. “Marion County is blessed to have two first magnitude springs, Silver Springs and also Rainbow River from Rainbow Springs. I think we need to do everything within our power to keep them clean.”

Outside of politics, Stone has run his own business, Stone Petroleum Products Inc., since 1990. Based in Ocala, the company delivers petroleum products across Central Florida.

Stone and his family have lived in Florida since 1972.

So far, he and five other candidates have entered the race for the House seat. Stone will be opposing Republicans Stephen Pyles, Jose Juarez, Ryan Chamberlain and Justin Albright, as well as write-in candidate Robert “Foxy” Fox.

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