Bev Slough: Republican Seeks 'Common Sense' in 6th Congressional District

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: May 19, 2012 3:55 AM
Beverly Slough

Beverly Slough

Another in a series of profiles on candidates in Florida's 6th Congressional District.

Calling herself the "common-sense conservative," GOP candidate Bev Slough figures to build a consensus in Florida's 6th Congressional District.
The latest of five Republicans to announce for the open seat along the northeast coast, the veteran St. Johns County School Board member is no red-meat barker. Rather, she fashions herself as a "realist" who can loosen the gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Slough sees her decade on the St. Johns School Board as a "microcosm" of the country. Where adversarial politics, union obstinance and dysfunction bedevil many public school systems, St. Johns has been the top-scoring district in the state for the past three years.

Slough isn't so bold as to take sole credit for that accomplishment, but she believes her collaborative style has facilitated both academic improvement and fiscal restraint.

"We proactively sought ways to save money while focusing on the lowest (scholastic) performers before fed requirements came along," she told Sunshine State News in an interview.

That said, Slough (pronounced "ow" with an "sl" in front of it) believes the federal Department of Education "needs to be shrunk drastically."

"Our educational system was never designed to be so micromanaged from the federal or state level," she declares.

Slough says her relations with the district's unions are open and professional. "They aren't giving us pushback on getting no raises in four years because their jobs have been saved."

But she acknowledges that this is a "volatile time" in education, and politics in general.

"Reform is never pretty, it's always a bit messy."

But instead of manning the barricades, Slough prefers a more collegial approach, noting that she lunches with the local teacher union president to keep the lines of communication open.

Slough doesn't go as far as some of GOP hopefuls -- notably state Rep. Fred Costello -- who want to outright abolish the DOE.

"You don't get far with hostile signals," she advises.

Nor does Slough, wife of Wesley, pastor at Switzerland Community Church, avoid Democrats like the plague. In fact, she's had Democrats from Flagler and Volusia counties volunteer to host fundraisers for her.

Whether she takes them up on their offers remains to be decided, but Slough has picked up endorsements from her fellow school board members, as well as other locally elected officials -- not all of whom are staunch Republicans.

Some political pundits believe Slough's more centrist approach makes her the GOP candidate most likely to attract moderates and independents in the general election.

The leading Democrat in the GOP-heavy district is Heather Beaven, who lost to veteran Rep. John Mica in 2010.

Florida Democratic Chairman Rod Smith, in comments earlier this year, made it sound as though Beaven was the only candidate in the race, saying, "We're confident she'll have the resources she needs to win."

That was news to Vipin Verma, a Dayton Beach attorney, who announced his Democratic bid last year to little fanfare.

Whatever happens on the Democratic side, Slough must best another St. Johns resident, Ron DeSantis, an ex-federal prosecutor and well-funded newcomer to the political scene; former House and U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller; Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark; and Costello of Ormond Beach.

With the exception of Costello, each talks up a more or less hard-right approach to governing in Washington, echoing the tea party mantra that propelled conservatives to victory in the 2010 congressional elections.

But Slough, a Texas-born educator who moved to St. Johns County 33 years ago, should not be mistaken for an armadillo sitting in the middle of the road.

She calls the current redistributive tax code "ridiculous" and favors "some form of a flat tax."

"Everyone should pay. Just because you're wealthy, you shouldn't have to pay a huge percentage more. Government shouldn't be funded on the back of wealthy people," Slough said.

In her home base, Slough's three decades of community involvement make her a widely known and formidable candidate. In addition to her school board colleagues, she has received the backing of all five St. Johns county commissioners, as well winning the endorsements of the St. Augustine police chief and a member of that city's council.

Yet living at the northern end of the 120-mile long district that stretches to southern Volusia County, Slough knows she has to get her name out there.

"I've been spending time in Putnam County networking with people I know with people I don't. This is a grassroots campaign," she notes.

Slough credits Wes for accompanying her to campaign events and helping to gather qualifying petition cards.

"I wouldn't be doing without his complete support."

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

Comments (4)

mary jo
6:56PM JUN 28TH 2012
She knows what she doing. We are all in the boat. She will surpise you all.
12:49PM MAY 22ND 2012
Yes, moderation and compromise (working together for the good of Florida and the country) no longer works for today's Republican "Tea" Party with its "you're with us or against us" mentality - that's why I and so many others have/are leaving the Grand Old Party to become Independents and even Democrats to avoid that feeding on our own insanity.

The party is ultimately dooming itself - poor ole Abe must be rolling over in his grave at the political stupidity.

Bev Slough has no chance in a Tea Party dominated cannibalistic feeding frenzy.
Are you joking?
8:01AM MAY 19TH 2012
She sounds like a nice person but come on now. But in what universe does being a school board member qualify you to be a US Senator? The last thing our country needs is some moderate who is going to sit back, collect a hefty paycheck and have breakfast with union leaders. There are much better choices in this race. Sorry Bev, but you're WAY out of your league.
Conservative Voice
7:15AM MAY 19TH 2012
Just what we need in congress, another moderate.

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