Tommy Gregory among finalists for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota President
Tommy Gregory. Image via Florida House.

He will compete with a Hillsborough Community College administrator and County College of Morris President.

Rep. Tommy Gregory has been named as a finalist to become the next President of State College of Florida (SCF), Manatee-Sarasota.

The Lakewood Ranch Republic is one of three finalists announced by the Manatee County college to succeed retiring President Carol Probstfeld. He’s up against Martyn Clay, Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City campus President, and Anthony Iacono, President of New Jersey-based County College of Morris.

“I’m just honored to be considered for this position,” Gregory told Florida Politics. “I think serving as president of State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota is a very important role because of the service the college provides to community, both for students and as the economic engine of the community, to give a workforce and talent pipeline that businesses in Sarasota, Manatee and surrounding counties depend on.”

Gregory is the only candidate without a background in college administration. That said, he stressed that during his military service, Gregory served as general counsel for the Air Mobility Warfare Center and he served as an instructor in seven courses over several years.

He holds a bachelor’s in economics from the Air Force Academy and a law degree from the University of Texas. He also characterized much of his work as a JAG officer in the military as educational in nature.

He was elected to the House in 2018, and has risen the ranks there. He currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and was expected to seek re-election this year to a fourth and final term before being termed out.

He’s also long been considered a prospective candidate for higher office in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

A biography on the website for SCF notes Gregory’s military background, including 20 years of active duty after graduating from the academy.

“His leadership skills were developed working with and for military general officers, CEOs, fighter pilots, law enforcement officers, astronauts, governors, and legislators,” the bio reads.

The college also notes two of Gregory’s children graduated from SCF Manatee-Sarasota.

Gregory has not publicized his interest in the President position, but would not be the first lawmaker to depart the House to run a state college. Just last year, Rep. Fred Hawkins left office to take over as President of South Florida State College.

He also wouldn’t be the first former lawmaker to lead SCF. Before Probstfeld was named President in 2012, the college was led by Lars Hefner, a former Democratic House member.

Gregory will participate in forums at the Venice and Bradenton campuses for SCF on March 26. Clay will do the same on March 27 and Iacono will attend forums on March 28.

No internal candidates made the finalist list.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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