Community leader Gwen Myers is the first candidate for Hillsborough County Commission District 3 to qualify by petition, a feat given social distancing restrictions in place amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Myers is running in a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace retiring Commissioner Les Miller.
Myers collected more than 2,000 signatures from Hillsborough voters and returned them to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office Monday by the noon petition deadline.
The Supervisor’s office has since certified those petitions.
“Being the first and so far only candidate to be on the ballot thanks to the signatures of the voters of District 3 speaks the broad, grassroots appeal of my campaign,” Myers said. “I have spent my entire life serving this community, not as politician, but as a county housing and health care official and I think that experience along with my willingness to listen and help others is a big reason I’ll win this race.”
By qualifying by petition, Myers avoids the $6,041.10 qualifying fee, which is 6% of the position’s $100,685 annual salary.
Candidates qualifying by paying that fee must do so June 8-12.
Myers was an early and vocal supporter of the county’s All For Transportation tax, which could be important to supporters as the tax faces a Florida Supreme Court appeal. If plaintiffs are successful in that appeal, the County Commission could be tasked with approving a re-do for the ballot, which they’ve already been considering even as the case awaits a decision.
Myers also served on Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s African American Advisory Council, the Hillsborough County Health Care Advisory Board, the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center Council, the Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa, as well as civic organizations like the League of Women Voters and the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
She was named Hillsborough County’s Volunteer of the Yer in 1992.
Myers leads the six candidate field in fundraising with more than $41,000 raised since she entered the race in January.
Transportation activist Rick Fernandez has raised just over $20,000, but could be a force to be reckoned with having raised those funds in less than one month.
Sky White has raised just over $15,000 while Maura Cruz Lanz, the only Republican in the race for the blue district, hasn’t posted any fundraising activity, though she entered the race last week and won’t file campaign finance reports until next month.