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Bob Graham endorses Mike Suarez for Tampa mayor

“Mike will do what so many others promise but never deliver.”

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham is endorsing Mike Suarez for Tampa mayor, Suarez’s campaign announced Tuesday.

“Mike will do what so many others promise but never deliver; a constant presence in their neighborhoods listening and responding to their needs,” Graham said. “As a former Governor and U.S. Senator, I know the importance of helping constituents navigate through government and know an informed and responsive Mayor can make the difference in helping citizens become active participants in their city government.”

Graham served in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from 1987 through 2005. He was Florida’s 38th Governor, serving from 1979 through 1987. Graham is also the father of Gwen Graham who ran unsuccessfully for Governor last year. 

Graham will be in Tampa all day Wednesday campaigning with Suarez.

“His leadership on the environment, our efforts to fight the war on terrorism and his dedication to protecting our elders, is what I admire about his service,” Suarez said. “His example of doing ‘Work Days’ throughout our state gave me a firsthand look at how listening is so important to serving our citizens and what I will emulate as Tampa’s next mayor.”

Graham will join Suarez at Open Cafe at 3222 N. 34th St. from 10:30 a.m. until noon where Graham will meet with east Tampa residents to discuss active senior living and how neighborhoods are important for a healthy lifestyle.

At 12:30 p.m. Graham will again meet with voters at Arco Iris Cafe at 4001 N. Habana Ave.

The two will do a television interview at Bay News 9 at 2:45 p.m. before heading to Buddy Brew Coffee on W. Snow Ave. at 3:30 p.m. to discuss general issues facing the Tampa Bay region and Florida.

Graham’s endorsement is a huge win for Suarez, who is running in a competitive race against several other candidates who have vast name recognition. Graham’s name adds to his own local notoriety as a sitting Tampa City Council member.

Suarez is facing a tough contest against former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, retired businessman David Straz, retired judge Dick Greco Jr., fellow City Council member Harry Cohen and small business consultant Topher Morrison.

The election is March 5 with a runoff scheduled for April 23.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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