No. 22 on the list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians: Jackie Toledo

'Jackie Toledo’s work has touched the lives of so many people, and she leaves behind an incredible legacy.'

Tampa state Rep. Jackie Toledo is in the No. 22 spot on this year’s list as she prepares to leave her House seat for a run for Congress.

Toledo is placing her bet on the run for federal office and, if successful, she’ll likely rise up the list next year. In the meantime, she is one step up from where she was in 2019, and a few pegs down from 2021, when she came in at No. 19.

Toledo has become a champion of anti-human trafficking legislation during her time in the House. This year, she sponsored the Human Trafficking Reduction Act (HB 1439) as an addendum to anti-trafficking measures she got passed last year. The bill sought to end hourly rates at motels and hotels.

Although the legislation died in the last week of Session, Toledo managed to revive the hourly rate provision from HB 1439 by adding it via an amendment to Miya’s Law (SB 898), which is now headed to the Governor’s desk.

Toledo also led the passage of bipartisan legislation informally known as the “Markel Act” (HB 1119), which would grant grandparents the right to petition courts for visitation in cases where one co-parent is found culpable by a civil or criminal court in the deceased parent’s death. Toledo worked on the bill with House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

The Tampa legislator also cleared HB 357 this Session with unanimous support from both chambers. The bill puts teeth into Florida’s pharmacy benefit management (PBM) laws by allowing the Office of Insurance Regulation to levy a $10,000 fine against anyone working as a PBM who has not registered with the state. Toledo can check off this accomplishment after fighting for more oversight of PBMs for several Sessions.

Sprowls also appointed Toledo chair of the Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.

As far as her future in politics, Toledo will run in the state’s newly drawn 15th Congressional District that covers North Tampa and areas of Pasco County. Although the state’s congressional maps have not been finalized, Toledo said she is committed to running in a district that serves all the Tampa Bay region.

In announcing her campaign, Toledo employed more conservative rhetoric, despite garnering a reputation as a moderate Republican during her time in Tallahassee. Toledo kicked off her campaign with a strong conservative edge, hoping to “bring back conservative values to Congress,” and to “stop Joe Biden from destroying America.” She’s running on principles like parental rights and securing the border.

At the state level, Toledo has proved willing to put partisan politics aside in favor of bipartisanship, including tackling issues her party might not like, which may have taken away some of her standing on the list. In 2019, she spearheaded efforts to pass the Competitive Workforce Act, a measure to provide workplace protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

“Rep. Toledo is a fierce lawmaker that leads with her core values at heart and her constituents front of mind. She is a truly caring person with a strong work ethic and is not afraid to cross the aisle to enact meaningful change,” said Natalie King of RSA Consulting. “From legislation preventing texting while driving to protecting human trafficking victims, Jackie Toledo’s work has touched the lives of so many people, and she leaves behind an incredible legacy of making our state a safer and more compassionate place to be.”

Toledo, who is a licensed professional engineer and local business owner, was first elected to her current seat in the Florida House — House District 60 — in 2016, and has held onto the district against credible challenges.

“Representative Jackie Toledo, a single mom with four kids, is a dynamo. She’s relentless. She’s fearless. She’s a machine. On the campaign trail she is the buzzsaw. In the legislature she was like the ocean, beating down any door she needed to to get her issues heard and bills passed. She has served her community well and I look foward to her next big win,” said GOP strategist Anthony Pedicini.

Throughout her political career, she has defined herself as a mother first, with five children of her own. Her congressional campaign even dons the slogan, “Mom on a mission.”

And, while Toledo may be lower on the list this year, it’s clear she’s not getting out of politics any time soon.

Joe Henderson’s take: Toledo has proven herself a champion in the fight against human trafficking, which makes her aces in my book. After an effective time in the Florida House, Toledo announced she is running for Congress. I wouldn’t bet against her.


As for methodology, we define the Tampa Bay region as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota — if the politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillsborough.

We define a politician as being in office or running for office.

Being first on a panelist’s list earns the politician 25 points, second earns them 24 points and so on, to where being listed 25th earns a politician one point. Points are added and, voilà, we have a list.

Special thanks go to our experienced and knowledgeable panelists, who were essential to developing the 2022 list: Christina Barker of the Vinik Family Office, Ashley Bauman of Mercury, Ed Briggs of RSA Consulting, Ricky Butler of the Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office, Reggie Cardozo of The Public Square, Ronald Christaldi of Schumaker, Evan Donovan of WFLA, Joe Farrell of Pinellas Realtors, pollster Matt Florell of Vicidial Group, Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, political consultant Max GoodmanMike Griffin of Savills, Joe Henderson, Todd Josko of Ballard Partners, Natalie King of RSA Consulting, Patrick Manteiga, publisher of LaGaceta, Seth McKeel of The Southern Group, Jennifer Motsinger, EVP of Tampa Bay Builders Association, Mitch Perry of Charter News, Ron Pierce of RSA Consulting, Preston Rudie of Catalyst Communications Group, and Alan Suskey of Shumaker Advisors. With Michelle and Peter Schorsch.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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