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April Griffin picks up a trove of endorsements

Griffin is earning support from several who have worked directly with her.

Former Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin rolled out a trove of new endorsements this week.

Griffin, who is running for Hillsborough County Tax Collector, received endorsements from several current and former elected and public officials.

The list includes Rep. Susan Valdes who served with Griffin on the School Board, as well as current School Board members Cindy Stuart and Karen Perez. Endorsers also include Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and Tampa City Council members Bill Carlson and John Dingfelder.

Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, former Tampa City Council member Mike Suarez, former School Board member Sally Harris and former Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti also endorsed Griffin.

Griffin announced she would run to replace incumbent Tax Collector Doug Belden in September. She officially filed for the race in early November.

“April’s leadership helped our community agencies and school district create stronger partnerships,” Eakins said. “These partnerships have led to safer environments in our community and stronger systems of support for students and families.”

Griffin served 12 years on the Hillsborough School Board and made a name for herself in an elected position that traditionally hides largely in the shadows compared to other local offices. Griffin frequently made headlines in early 2015 as she led efforts to fire former Superintendent MaryEllen Elia despite Elia’s popularity among some of the area’s most powerful political figures.

“April is independent in her thought and collaborative in her work,” Stuart said.

Stuart worked with Griffin on Elia’s ouster.

Griffin faces current Tax Collector executive Nancy Millan who currently serves as Director of Community Relations for the agency.

Griffin’s endorsement package rollout answers Millan’s early shows of support including from Belden, former Mayor Pam Iorio and Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller.

Both Griffin and Millan are Democrats. So far no Republican has entered the race, but that could change as the 2020 election draws nearer.

In addition to her elected service, Griffin also worked as a public servant, she also lead the department of human services in the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office under Public Defender Julianne Holt.

Griffin is running to improve customer service within the department by modernizing, streamlining and coordinating services.

The Tax Collector’s office handles drivers licenses, concealed weapons permits, hunting and fishing licenses and all county taxes collected.

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 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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