Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren will host his re-election kickoff May 21 at Pane Rustica in South Tampa at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s very humbling to have so many people from both sides of the political aisle supporting the work we’re doing,” Warren said. “As we formally kick off our re-election efforts, I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm for the reforms, programs, and efficiencies my office has instituted over the last two years.”
Warren’s campaign claims it raised more than $100,000 in its first month.
Warren’s reelection bid is no surprise. He first announced in early February.
Since he was first elected in 2016, Warren has expanded diversion programs for youth offenders, instituted a policy to disarm domestic violence abusers, reduced “direct file” charging of juveniles as adults, increased the use of veterans courts and mental health courts, and implemented policies to end the criminalization of poverty.
Under his leadership, the State Attorney’s Office has diverted 700 kids and 850 adults annually from the criminal justice program by utilizing civil citations for misdemeanor first offenses in many cases. The majority of those diversions were related to marijuana possession.
In addition to civil citations, Warren has also increased the use of problem-solving courts. Those are things like drug court, which offer alternatives to incarceration through treatment programs and various community service opportunities.
“There’s more work to do,” Warren said. “The right policies don’t guarantee electoral victory. That’s why we’re working now to build our organization and continue our commitment to the people of Hillsborough.”
One thing Warren hopes to continue working on is reducing what he calls “poverty traps.” Those are situations where people face criminal charges based on their inability to pay fines or fees.
For example, if a person fails to pay civil fines, they risk losing their driver’s license, which only succeeds in further financial decline.
Warren will be on the ballot next year. So far he’s not facing a challenger.