Election Highlight

Now that the legislative session has ended, many candidates have resumed campaign activities. With the primary scheduled for August 30th 2016, we want to make sure you are familiar with the major candidates in the races. This week we will be focusing on the local races in Hillsborough County. We will not be discussing all of the candidates in the races. Some races have many candidates filed, but only a few have done actual fundraising. For this highlight we will discuss those we see as series candidates, however if things change over the summer we will update you accordingly.

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court

The Position:
The Clerk of the Circuit Court is the official record keeper of the county courts, as well as Chief Financial Officer for the County. The Clerk is responsible for safekeeping and investing over $1.8 billion in annual county collections, acting as an independent auditor of county departments, and an Ex-Officio clerk to the Board of County Commissioners.

The Candidates:
The Democrats running for this position include the incumbent Pat Frank and Commissioner Kevin Beckner. Republican Eric Sidel is also vying for the position.

Pat Frank (D) who was elected to serve as Clerk in 2004. Pat Frank also has extensive experience in the Florida Legislature, serving in both the House and Senate. She later went on to serve on the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners before being elected Clerk.

Kevin Beckner (D) was elected to the Hillsborough County Commission in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 to a second four-year term. Born in Michigan City, Indiana, he graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1990 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with minors in Business and Psychology from Indiana University in 1993. For the Past 16 years Commissioner Beckner has worked as a Certified Financial Planner.

Eric Sidel (R) is a Consumer Lawyer who is known for his Fox13 segment “Ask-A-Lawyer” where he provides consumer and legal advice to Tampa Bay residents. Eric Seidel is a 1991 Doctor of Law graduate of the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center. He is a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the Florida Bar.

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser

The Position:
The Hillsborough County Property Appraiser is an elected official charged with the duty and responsibility to appraise all of the property in the County. This includes real estate and tangible personal property such as the equipment, machinery and fixtures of businesses.

The Candidates:
The incumbent in the race is Democrat Bob Henriquez. His Republican opposition is Todd Jones.

Bob Henriquez (D) was elected Hillsborough County Property Appraiser in 2012. Henriquez is a Princeton graduate who worked in Hillsborough County government before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1998. In addition to his public service, Henriquez is well known as a successful high school football coach for Tampa Catholic.,

Todd Jones (R) is known as a tax advocate for Floridians. Todd is a graduate of the University of Florida, and earned an MBA from the University of South Tampa. He has served as President of the Florida Association of Property Tax Professionals, and regularly assists taxpayers with ad valorem property tax counseling and representation. Currently, Todd Jones has a strong lead in fundraising.

Hillsborough County Commission District 6

The Position:
The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approves the county’s operating and capital budgets and the county’s capital improvement program. Commissioners develop policy for the management of Hillsborough County and provide direction to the County Administrator on any programs for the improvement of the county and the welfare of its residents.

The Candidates:
The District 6 seat is being vacated by Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who will be leaving to pursue the office of Clerk of the Court, making this an open seat. There are two major Republican candidates in the race. The first is Jim Norman who is currently leading in fundraising. His primary opponent is Tim Schock. In the Democrat primary race is Pat Kemp and Brian Willis.

Jim Norman (R) is a former Hillsborough County Commissioner, who was originally elected to the board in 1992 and served until 2006. Norman is well known for leading the County’s adoption of a Two Year Budget Cycle, for which Hillsborough County won an Accountability in Government Award.

Tim Schock (R) is a small business owner, who wants to create fiscally responsible transportation solutions, promote economic empowerment for small businesses, and to push for fiscal responsibility in county government. Currently, Jim Norman has a strong lead in fundraising.

Pat Kemp (D) currently has the fundraising lead for Democrats. She is a local attorney, who has worked in private practice and provides legal services to low income families in the bay area. She is currently the Chair of the Democratic Party of Hillsborough.

Brian Willis (D) is a third generation Hillsborough County resident and local attorney. Willis has been appointed to advisory boards for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), he also co-founded the grassroots transportation advocacy group Connect Tampa Bay.

Hillsborough County School Board District 5

The Position:
The school board is responsible for the organization and control of the district’s public schools and is empowered to determine the policies necessary for the effective operation and the general improvement of the school system.

The Candidates:
The District 5 seat is an open seat this year as Member Doretha Edgecomb will not be running for reelection. There are two candidates running for her seat.

Tarance LeNoir (NP) is a Hillsborough County Public Schools Teacher.

Tamara Shamburger (NP) is a Tampa Native who works as an Insurance Agent and Mortgage Broker.

Hillsborough County School Board District 7

The Position:
The school board is responsible for the organization and control of the district’s public schools and is empowered to determine the policies necessary for the effective operation and the general improvement of the school system.

The Candidates:
The School Board District 7 Seat is also open this election cycle as Member Carol Kurdell will not be running for reelection. The two leading candidates in the race are Stanley Gray and Lynn Gray.

Stanley Gray (NP) is a Naval Academy graduate who served is the U.S. Marine Corps. After retiring due to injury, Gray went on to work for several Corporate 100 companies in director level positions. In 2001 he established his own H.R. Practice that revolved around Labor, Organizational effectiveness, Organizational Development and Executive Search.

Lynn Gray (NP) is a Hillsborough County Public Schools Teacher and Administrator with 26 years of experience. Lynn is running to change the way students our taught and to expand advocacy programs.