MANATEE -- A former local lawmaker Wednesday defended his participation in a pro red-light camera organization that caused a stir in the city of Brooksville.
In 2010, Ron Reagan, a former Republican state representative, sponsored a measure setting formal statewide parameters for use of high-tech cameras that snap images of red-light runners at traffic signals. Reagan helped push the measure through the Florida Legislature on behalf of the late Mark Wandall, a Manatee resident who died in 2003 in an accident caused by a red-light runner.
Reagan said he recently affiliated with a nonprofit group called Keep Florida Roads Safe Inc., based at 9423 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch, according to state records. It is the same address listed for Dawson Cos., an insurance firm for which Reagan said he works.
The group is embroiled in a dispute over a citizen-inspired ballot initiative attempting to halt continued use of the cameras in Brooksville, north of Tampa.
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The issue is now the subject of a court case.
"I am for any group that supports public safety and red-light cameras," said Reagan, who returned to the insurance business after his years in the Legislature.
Asked about the group's makeup, which critics have said include companies that supply red-light camera systems, Reagan said some members are manufacturers and others are in the red-light camera business.
"I have no problems with that whatsoever," Reagan said. "These people do have an interest in it, no question. I don't see that as a conflict."
Brooksville Assistant City Attorney Cliff Taylor said the matter will not be decided during the Nov. 4 election unless the court steps in with a ruling beforehand.
If the proposed measure had called for a simple up-or-down vote on continued use of red-light cameras, city officials would not have objected to it, Taylor said.
But he said it went far beyond that, and city officials directed him to seek a court decision on its legality.
However, Taylor said efforts by the pro-red-light group to join the city case were unnecessary.
"The city filed an objection to them coming into the court case," said Taylor. "We think we can handle it on our own."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.