Ali Glisson, who has served as Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s public affairs director since the fall of 2011, is leaving the Buckhorn administration to go work for Strategic Property Partners (SPP), Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s real estate company. Glisson will become the director of communications for SPP, which is developing a billion-dollar, mixed-use district in downtown Tampa.
Glisson’s last day working for the city is today. She begins work with SPP on Monday.
Glisson’s replacement is Ashley Bauman, who has been involved with Democratic Party politics for years. She served as a spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party in 2010, and the Virginia Democratic Party from 2011-2013. She also worked with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 in Florida, and currently has been working with the Democratic National Committee in Washington.
“It’s sad. I’ve had a great four years here,” said Glisson in a brief interview. “I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve learned a lot, and it’s really been a great experience.”
A Tampa native, Glisson came to work for Buckhorn beginning in November of 2011, replacing Liana Lopez. She previously served as communications director for former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa. Prior to that she worked for the Iowa Democratic Party as communications director and for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Just prior to being hired by Buckhorn she was consulting in Washington, D.C.
“I really wanted to come back to the city and be a part of the Buckhorn administration,” Glisson recounts. “I had known him prior to getting elected, and I really felt passionately about some of the stuff I knew he was going to do and looking to do, for the city, and so when that opportunity presented itself and come back home to Tampa? Great.”
The news doesn’t come as a major surprise for the mayor, Glisson says. The pair communicate often, and she says he was well aware of her potential interest earlier this year in applying to graduate school. “He’s happy for me.”
Glisson isn’t the first high-profile member of the Buckhorn administration to leave the public sector to work for Vinik’s real-estate company. In April of 2013, City Attorney Jim Shimberg left to become executive vice president and general counsel of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, which has now has become Strategic Property Partners.