Phil Ammann – Florida Politics

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range included covering news, local government and nightclub reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for an online metaphysical website among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013 and lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul.

With Facebook page, Becca Tieder inches toward challenging Chris Latvala

Democrat Becca Tieder took another step toward challenging Clearwater Republican state Rep. Chris Latvala in House District 67.

Tieder, a Clearwater native and third-generation Floridian, has set up a Facebook political candidate page — @BeccaforFlorida — slated to “start May 1.”

According to DNS records, the domain name Becca4Florida.com has also been registered since March 28.

As Florida Politics reported earlier, House Victory and incoming Democratic leader Kionne McGhee confirmed the Florida Democratic Party is actively recruiting Teider to face Latvala, who will be seeking a third term in the Clearwater-area HD 67.

“If I run, it’s because I’m the best candidate for the seat. I’m not doing this for me — I have a great life,” Tieder, a mother of two, told reporters. “But if I feel like I can make a difference, I will run, and I will win.”

What did resonate was complaints of Tallahassee’s overreach, which included increased funding for charter schools.

“Charter schools serve a purpose, but not as a replacement for public schools,” she said; it was wrong to “give away so much of what feels like our — the public’s — responsibility.”

Tieder is active in the movement against sexual assault on college campuses. Joined by fellow activist Kelly Addington, Tieder has traveled up to 150 days a year since 2003, speaking about sexual assault awareness, prevention and sexual empowerment. According to her website, the pair has taken their message to more than a half-million students at nearly 400 college campuses.

Previously, Tieder considered a run for Pinellas County School Board in 2020 but said that after attending several board meetings, she felt the current crop of elected officials were “well suited for their jobs.”

Latvala has held the Republican-leaning HD 67 since 2014, after defeating Democrat Steve Sarnoff by six points. In 2016, he defeated Democrat David Vogel by 17 points in the district that went for Republican Donald Trump by around 4 points. Wednesday evening, Latvala is holding a campaign kickoff event in Clearwater, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Island Bay Grill, 20 Island Way.

Bob Cortes qualifies by petition for HD 30 re-election bid

Incumbent Bob Cortes has become the first candidate to qualify by petition in his bid for a third term in House District 30. The Altamonte Springs Republican represented HD 30 since 2014.

In a minute-long video Facebook video, Cortes said his campaign provided more than 1,100 signatures, and the process “should be completely done and ready to be qualified to be on the ballot.”

According to Florida Division of Elections website, Cortes needs 1,056 petitions for qualification to avoid paying a filing fee. As of March 15, the state certified 743 signatures: 126 from Orange County and 617 from Seminole County.

 

In the video, Cortes thanked supporters for their work, noting that his was the first campaign in the district to qualify and that neither Democratic opponent has submitted enough petitions.

“This is just the first phase, of course,” Cortes said in a statement. “We will now turn our eye toward November and do everything we can to make sure that we are re-elected so that the progress we have made of creating jobs and improving education is not reversed.”

In 2014, Cortes defeated Scott Sturgill in the Republican primary, later beating incumbent Democrat Karen Castor Dentel in the general election. In 2016, he defeated attorney Ryan Yadav to win a second term.

Drawing no Republican primary challenger for 2018, Cortes faces Democrats Daniel Anderson and Joy Goff-Marcil. As of April 16, Anderson submitted 147 petitions.

Hillsborough GOP event to feature both Rick Scott, Colt handgun raffle

With the Republican Party of Hillsborough, $20,000 goes a long way.

First, it buys a spot at next month’s Lincoln Day Dinner, seated at a table with Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott is headlining the event — themed “Let Freedom Ring” — along with Attorney General Pam Bondi (as Master of Ceremonies) and U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross, Gus Bilirakis and Vern Buchanan.

Twenty large also gets “Platinum Sponsor” status, an exclusive mention at the dinner and six passes to the VIP reception, joining Scott and “visiting dignitaries.”

Despite the potential ethics violation of buying access to Scott — as a newly minted U.S. Senate candidate — those cutting the big checks also get a special prize: 20 chances to win a Colt 1911 A1 G.I. 45 ACP (valued at $949).

Friday is the last day of the event’s “early bird pricing.” It’s also the same day thousands of students across the country walked out of classrooms to protest for gun reform on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

And there is no small irony in an event that features Scott and a raffle of a handgun (particularly a Colt), considering the Florida Governor’s history of mingling guns and jobs, two issues that served as cornerstones of his political career.

In 2011, Scott pledged more than a million dollars to Colt Manufacturing to open an Osceola County plant to manufacture AR-15’s — similar to the weapon used by Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 students and teachers in February’s deadly Parkland high school shooting.

“Since Scott’s first year in office, the governor has sought to bring gun makers to Florida,” Florida Bulldog reporter Dan Christiansen wrote Feb. 20. “In 2011, for example, he promised $1.6 million in incentives to Colt Manufacturing Co. to open a plant and add 63 jobs in Osceola County to build AR-15 rifles, like the one police say was used in last week’s slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.”

With the Colt incentive deal in hand, Scott wanted show Florida was both open for business (especially the gun business) and welcoming to gun rights supporters — key factors in Florida’s much-derided reputation as the “Gunshine State.”

“‘As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends a clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms,’ said Scott, adding that he was personally involved in bringing Colt to Florida,” the Bulldog piece noted.

Unfortunately for Scott, the boast was short-lived. The Colt deal later fell through because the gun manufacturer did not live up to the promised jobs.

The Hillsborough GOP Lincoln Day dinner is May 19 at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre in Tampa, beginning promptly at 6 p.m.

According to the invite, the event starts with a reception and silent auction of “significant local and historical items of interest” — which presumably includes the Colt giveaway. Dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Jane Castor enters race for Tampa Mayor in 2019

Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor has entered the race for Tampa mayor in 2019.

The announcement came early Thursday morning along with invitations to like a new Facebook page “Jane Castor for Mayor.”

Invites came from Castor’s longtime partner, Tampa-based lobbyist and political analyst Ana Cruz. Cruz is the daughter of Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who recently announced a bid for Republican Dana Young’s Senate seat.

Castor, 58, was Tampa’s first female police chief, as well as the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in that office. As a well-known figure in Tampa and Hillsborough County, Castor’s mayoral aspirations have been no secret.

 

And now with a Facebook page — including a new logo — the cat is fully out of the bag.

An official campaign kickoff event is planned for Thursday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. at Ulele in Tampa.

The page is in its early stages, with no link yet to a campaign website.

Castor’s campaign is saying it will officially file later Thursday at the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office.

“Many Tampa residents know me as their police chief, where for six years I led the largest department with the largest budget in our City,” Castor said in an announcement. “Others know me as their neighbor and community advocate who has stood alongside them for the betterment of Tampa. We have accomplished so much, but there is still work to be done. I am running for mayor because our city needs a proven leader who will continue to celebrate our successes while working with everyone to solve the important challenges that lie ahead.”

In July, Castor had formed Tampa Strong, a “statewide” political committee to support candidates “for state, legislative or local offices,” and create “strong communities via sensible leadership and policies.”

The committee — which raised more than $176K through March — will come in handy for her campaign.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Castor will run on three critical issues: “strong foundation,” “stronger neighborhoods” and “strong economy.” She will focus on “public safety, fiscal prudence, efficient city services, neighborhood development, affordable housing and better transportation.”

“I believe our city’s greatest resource is our citizens,” Castor added. “Our combined hard work, hopes and dreams are what make Tampa Strong. And with y0ur help, I’ll stand strong as Tampa’s next mayor, leading our city toward a brighter future.”

The announcement touts Castor’s long list of achievements on both the “national and local level.”

“Jane Castor is recognized for her leadership in both law enforcement and community involvement.

“She is honored to have been the recipient of numerous awards including the 2015 University of South Florida President’s Distinguished Citizen Award, 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police, 2014 Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of Influence, Leadership Tampa Alumni Parke Wright III Leadership Award, 2014 Florida Holocaust Museum’s Lobenberg Humanitarian Award, 2013 Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s Community Advocate Award, 2011 Tampa Connection’s Betty Tribble Citizen of the Year Award, 2010 University of Tampa Alumni Achievement Award, 2009 National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executive’s Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award, 2007 Josephine Howard Stafford Memorial Award for Community Engagement, and the 2006 University of Tampa University Athletic Hall of Fame.”

Castor is joining a growing field of contenders in 2019, which includes Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, transit advocate Ed Turanchik, who announced in February, as well as businessman Christopher “Topher” Morrison and Michael Anthony Hazard. Also considering a run are Tampa council member Mike Suarez and philanthropist David Straz.

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

Off: Ashley Ross is no longer deputy chief of staff on Commerce, Tourism, and Community Affairs in the Senate President’s office.

Off: Holly Maxwell is no longer committee administrative assistant for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

On: Abby Ross and Christi Fearnley have become legislative assistants for newly elected Boynton Beach Democratic Sen. Lori Berman.

Off and on: Michele McCloskey is no longer district secretary for Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd. She has now moved to become district secretary for Tampa Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison.

Off and on: Kevin Lata has been replaced by Grace Moseley as a legislative assistant for Sarasota Democratic Rep. Margaret Good.

On and off: Bill McVay is the new district secretary for Winter Garden Republican Rep. Bobby Olszewski. District Secretary Samantha Surdin is leaving the position to take over duties as Olszewski’s campaign manager with the Republican Party of Florida for his re-election this year in House District 44.  Surdin previously successfully served in this role last year when Olszewski won both the Republican primary and general election in a special election in October. McVay who comes from Washington D.C. with extensive nonprofit work along with an MBA from Virginia Tech. The former long-time aide to former Senate President Andy GardinerKathy Johnson, remains as Olszewski’s legislative aide.

Pinellas Commissioner John Morroni to undergo medical treatment

Longtime Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni announced Friday he will undergo series of treatments for a blood disorder known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

The Treasure Island Republican will receive treatment at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center, during which he will continue to receive weekly briefings from the County Administrator.

“As a 10-year cancer survivor, I am very confident in the excellent medical team at Moffitt,” Morroni said in a statement. “I appreciate the prayers of support and words of encouragement from my friends and constituents.”

According to the American Cancer Society, leukemias are treatable forms of cancer that start in cells that would normally develop into different types of blood cells. AML – also known as acute myelocytic leukemia – often develops from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells, while some cases of AML develop in other types of blood-forming cells. “Acute” means that leukemia could progress quickly if not caught and aggressively treated.

There are roughly 20,000 new cases of AML each year in the United States, with high (80 to 90 percent) remission rate if treated early.

The AML Morroni faces emerged as a secondary effect of treatment he underwent in 2016 for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). According to the Tampa Bay Times Morroni underwent stem cell transplant treatment in 2017, a result of a secondary effect of chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Morroni served Pinellas County District 6 since 2000. He chaired the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners in 2005, 2012 and 2015. Before his tenure with the county, Morroni served eight years in the Florida House, from 1992 to 2000.

In March 2017, Morroni said he would not seek a fifth term on the Commission, ending a 25-year career in elective office.

Earlier this year, Morroni hosted the 23rd Annual Appreciation Dinner for Emergency Personnel, raising more than $80,000 to benefit Moffitt Cancer Center.

Adam Putnam keeps dumping on Rick Scott’s legacy

Now that Adam Putnam is the erstwhile frontrunner in the Florida Governor’s race, the Agriculture Commissioner seems more eager than ever to dump on Gov. Rick Scott.

Despite serving nearly eight years in the Florida Cabinet, working shoulder to shoulder with Scott – and standing with the Governor (and newly minted U.S. Senate candidate) at a “Let’s Get to Work” rally in Sarasota this week – Putnam nevertheless badmouths Scott’s legacy at every turn on the campaign trail.

For example, during a recent appearance on “This Week in South Florida,” the former congressman from Bartow shared his vision for education – highlighted by a call for increased school funding.

“The vast majority of our students are in a traditional public school, and we need to make sure the resources are following those students so that teachers and students have the tools they need to compete in this global economy and win,” Putman told hosts Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg.

Of course, Putnam did not acknowledge the recently passed Florida budget — the state’s largest ever – which included $21.1 billion for K-12 schools, an increase of $485 million from last year, or nearly $102 more in per-student funding.

In another reproach to Scott’s legacy, Putnam boasted that if elected, he would reverse current policy and revive the “drug czar” position to lead the state’s battle with opioid addiction. Shortly after taking office in 2011, Scott eliminated the Office of Drug Control, scrapped the state’s prescription drug database program and ended the position of drug czar.

However, in March, Putnam floated a return to the drug czar concept at an opioid roundtable: “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a reinvention of the old drug czar … but we need a coordinator of the response to this crisis.”

But nowhere did the candidate credit Scott for working with state lawmakers this year to set aside $65 million for expanding treatment and give the overdose antidote naloxone to law enforcement and paramedics. The measure also imposes a new three-day limit on most opioid prescriptions, though doctors could extend that to seven days if “medically necessary.”

In addition, physicians and staff must now check with a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing such controlled substances.

Putnam has also been quite vocal lately in criticizing the Department of Children and Families – an agency that answers to Scott – for its lack of response to a series of red flags about Nikolas Cruz, the former student who killed 17 people Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“The Legislature’s commitment to funding that Safe Schools account has gone down over time,” he told WJXT Jacksonville. “I think that complacency, unfortunately, potentially crept in … It’s unfortunate that it took the Parkland event to refocus everyone on the need to harden these schools.”

In a direct rebuke of Scott’s leadership, Putnam pointed out that DCF did nothing after “[visiting] the home because he posted a video online saying that he wanted to be a shooter and he was threatening to cut himself.”

At the time, Putnam’s criticism was the highest-profile attack from a Republican against Scott and the GOP-led Legislature, accusing them both of disregard for school safety.

It’s clear that Scott is term-limited, so criticism is far from unexpected. However, becoming a lame duck should not mean there is an automatic target on the Governor’s back, especially coming from a member of his own Cabinet.

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

On: Holly Maxwell is the committee receptionist for Senate Appropriations.

Off: Jay Shannon and Jacob Flaherty are no longer legislative assistants for Fort Lauderdale Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer.

Off: Marilyn Barnes is no longer legislative assistant to Tallahassee Democratic Sen. Bill Montford. Barnes retired after spending her career serving the Legislature, which included the Speaker’s Office in the 70s, many years of service on Joint Committees, and more recently several years with the Senate and Montford.

Off: Ali Kurnaz is no longer a legislative assistant to Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart.

Off and on: Kenneth Thomas is no longer district secretary in Tallahassee Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander‘s office. Navael Fontus has become a new district secretary.

Off: Stephany Montano is no longer district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio.

Off: Abby Ross is no longer chief legislative assistant for Lantana Democratic Rep. Lori Berman.

Off: Nutoshia Carr is no longer district secretary for Ocoee Democratic Rep. Kamia Brown.

Off: Charlotte Codie is no longer legislative assistant for North Fort Myers Republican Rep. Matt Caldwell.

Off and on: Carlos Ramos is no longer legislative assistant; Erika Flores moved from district secretary to legislative assistant and Margie Ramirez is the new district secretary for Tampa Democratic Rep. Janet Cruz.

Off and on: Clarence James is no longer executive secretary and Consqailla Toney is a new district secretary for Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Kimberly Daniels.

Off: Chesten Goodman is no longer legislative assistant for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant.

Off: Sadie Haire is no longer district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fisher.

Off and on: Kay Mathers replaced Susan Neaves as district secretary for Sarasota Democratic Rep. Margaret Good.

Off and on: Jerrick Leonard is no longer legislative assistant and Jessica Garafola moved from district secretary to legislative assistant for West Park Democratic Rep. Shev Jones.

Off and on: Lisa Kauffman is out, and Katie Siciliano is in as legislative assistant for Hutson Republican Rep. Amber Mariano.

Off and on: Grace Moseley is no longer a district secretary and Cyrus Calhoun moved from district secretary to legislative assistant in St. Petersburg Democratic Rep. Wengay Newton‘s office.

Off: Samantha Surdin is no longer district secretary for Winter Garden Republican Rep. Robert Olszewski.

Off: Jesika Davis is no longer district secretary for Key Largo Republican Rep. Holly Raschein.

Off: Leilani Gonzalez is no longer district secretary for Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues.

Off and on: John Brown is no longer district secretary; Jasmine Mattear filled a vacant legislative assistant position after being district secretary for Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw.

On: Sarah Johnson is a new legislative assistant for Boca Raton Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg.

Off: Dottie Acosta is no longer district secretary for St. Johns Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

Off and on: Cooper Harrison is out, and Brian Pierce is in as district secretary for Panama City Republican Rep. Jay Trumbull.

Off: Mamie Rubottom is no longer district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough.

Dennis Ross to retire in 2018

Congressman Dennis Ross will not seek re-election in 2018.

The Lakeland Republican will not seek another term in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, which covers parts of Central Florida, ending a 16-year career in elective offices.

“But I got up Sunday morning and I’m reading my emails and the news and seeing what I need to do looked outside and said ‘My God, it’s beautiful today,’” Ross told POLITICO. “’I gotta go out there and see that.’ And I thought to myself, it’s time. It’s time. It’s time to move on.”

Ross, 58, was elected to Congress in 2010 after eight years in the Florida Legislature.

He told Florida Politics Wednesday: “It’s time. Cindy [Ross’ wife] and I have talked about this for some time. I planned on ten years, but after eight with both my sons getting married within the year and having accomplished what I had hoped, it’s time,”

Ross, a senior deputy whip in the House, said he plans to work hard to see other goals of the GOP House leadership accomplished before he leaves.

“Polk County has a significant role in this district, and I intend to campaign for my successor,” he added.

He said his decision was a personal one. It comes on the same day Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his decision to retire at the end of the term this year.

Both men cited family as one of the key reasons.

Close supporter Dena DeCamp, president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women was quick to point out that Ross’ retirement had nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

“Dennis kind of hinted to me last year he was thinking about it,” she said. Again, he is not leaving because of Trump.

(In fact, Ross told this reporter in 2016 he had no intention of making it “a lifetime career.”)

DeCamp said she is not worried about Republicans losing the seat.

‘“There are a lot of Democrats running, but that won’t make a difference,” she said. “This is a solid Republican district, and there have always been a lot of Democrats who voted for Dennis.”

But is it still a Polk County seat?

Over the years Ross has been in the seat, the district has changed from the commanding position Polk County voters held in the early years of his congressional terms. His incumbency and voter satisfaction continued to ensure his re-election.

But Polk voters now only make up 40 percent of the district, with the bulk now in eastern Hillsborough and a small amount stretching to Clermont.

“I don’t believe in the Blue Wave,” DeCamp said. “ That was just made up by the media. Dennis has done a great job for us representing the people of this district. He has supported conservative issues, the Second Amendment, and tax cuts.”

Ross said he plans to return to practicing law when his term expires in January. And he said he plans to pursue his passion for promoting civics education in high schools and colleges. He said he is concerned about the lack of teaching on the topic.

“It is so important that kids understand the process and that we are all a part of it,” Ross said.

Ross told POLITICO Florida he doesn’t have a favorite candidate to follow him. Possible successors include state Sen. Kelli Stargel, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd (who, through a spokesperson, said he “will never run for a different public office, and that includes Congress.”) state Rep. Ben Albritton, former state Rep. Neil Combee and state Sen. Tom Lee.

Republican leaders reached Tuesday also mentioned former state Rep. Seth McKeel of Lakeland as a potential candidate from Polk County for the GOP primary in CD 15.

McKeel, 42, was a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014,  and had served on the Lakeland City Commission for six years prior to the Legislature.

He earned the respect of Republican leaders in Polk and Hillsborough counties when he stepped in to heal the rift between University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft and the Hillsborough delegation between Senate Appropriations Chairman JD Alexander, a Lake Wales Republican, and the members of the Polk legislative delegation.

The negotiation gave birth to Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland and the elimination of the USF Lakeland campus.

In making the announcement, Ross joined Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Tom Rooney and Ron DeSantis in deciding against seeking re-election to congressional seats this fall. Like Ross, Ros-Lehtinen and Rooney have not disclosed any other political plans, while DeSantis is running for governor.

Ross was elected to the Florida House in 2000 and served four terms in Tallahassee. Ross’ congressional website recounts how he was stripped of a state House committee chairmanship in 2007 for voting against a bill that made the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. “the largest property insurer in Florida. For voting against his party and with his free-market principles, Dennis was stripped of his chairmanship and many said his career was over.”

Ross won his first congressional election by 7 percentage points over Democrat Lori Edwards, but he never faced a close race in getting re-elected three times.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Ed Turanchik kicks off campaign for Tampa Mayor with $155K, big crowds

Ed Turanchik launched his bid for Tampa Mayor in style.

The Tampa attorney/developer/transit activist raised more than $155,000 through the end of March, as well as drawing more than 500 people to a campaign kickoff event held last week.

“I am thrilled and humbled by the support our campaign has received,” Turanchik said Tuesday. “We have raised more campaign contributions in two months than we raised during my entire 2011 bid for mayor.”

Turanchik’s entry is among the earliest in the recent history of Tampa mayoral politics; nevertheless, several other candidates are expected to announce, giving incentive for a quick start. Former Police Chief Jane Castor, philanthropist David Straz and City Council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen are also expected to enter the race, which won’t take place for another year. Businessman Topher Morrison has already announced his candidacy.

At the April 2 kickoff, held in Tampa’s historic Armature Works, Turanchik was surrounded by an audience of hundreds of family, friends and supporters.

Among those listed on the host committee included Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and School Board Member Tammy Shamburger, along with former public officials like County Commissioner Joe Chillura, state Senator Jim Hargrett, state Rep. Elvin Martinez Sr. and Tampa City Council member Linda Saul Sena.

At the event, Turanchik told the crowd he was “reaching as far, as high as we can to aspire to become a great 21st Century American city that provides prosperity for all of us.”

“This is a campaign of unity, a campaign of Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, people from all walks of life, incomes and orientations,” Turanchik added. “We want to be the city we can be.”

Turanchik’s platform is based on three key local issues: housing, innovation and transit.

“They’re already a ‘HIT’ with people,” Turanchik said at the kickoff. In order for everyone to succeed, Turanchik said, Tampa needs a strong public education system, pledging to work with the School Board and other major educational institutions to improve schools.

A clip of Turanchik’s remarks is on the campaign’s Facebook page.

The $155K total includes money raised through both Turanchik’s campaign and political action committee.

“Tampa is blessed with a long history of leaders who have worked to get us where we are today,” Turanchik said. “I look forward to the coming month as we discuss how we can build on this legacy and make Tampa an even better place to live, work and play.”

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