Ed Montanari, one of St. Petersburg’s most involved and respected citizen leaders, will announce next month he’s running for the District 2 seat on the City Council, according to those close to the plain-spoken, razor-sharp airline pilot.
Bill Dudley, term-limited from running again, now represents the northeast St. Petersburg district.
In 2007, Dudley upset the better-financed Montanari for the seat. Four years later, Montanari flirted with challenging Dudley before deciding not to run.
It appears 2015 will be Montanari’s year.
A member of countless civic, community, and political boards and organizations, Montanari is often viewed as “Councilman Number Nine.”
Involved in city affairs for decades, Montanari, an American Airlines pilot, first made a name for himself by the evenhanded way he led a citizens task force on Albert Whitted Airport.
Since then and (perhaps more importantly) after his defeat at the ballot box, Montanari has contributed thousands of hours of personal time to improving St. Petersburg.
A member of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Council for more than seven years and a member of the Community Planning and Preservation Commission, Montanari has been a key part of several high-profile task forces, including those dealing with how to solve The Pier and Tampa Bay Rays issues.
There’s no one else in town with the kind of résumé Montanari has.
Running for City Council is the natural next step for the former F-16 pilot. Look for Montanari to roll out his campaign near the beginning of the next fundraising period. When he does, look for a campaign steering committee made up of, literally, hundreds of the city’s best and brightest.
You can also expect Montanari to assemble the same kind of full-scale campaign operation employed by other top local politicians, such as U.S. Rep. David Jolly and state Sen. Jeff Brandes.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Montanari’s campaign is so well organized that only a political gadfly decides to run against him.
And that’s fine by me.
No one more deserves to be on St. Pete’s City Council than Montanari.