The Tampa Bay Times is recommending Luis Viera for the Tampa City Council District 7 seat, prompting his opponent, Jim Davison, to label it as an endorsement of “the status quo” on taxes and investment in the City of Tampa.
Davison and Viera are locked in a battle to win the run-off in the special election to succeed Lisa Montelione on Dec. 6.
In their editorial published Monday, the paper writes that while both candidates are serious and on top of the issues the district and the city is contending with, Viera “seems to better understand the diversity of the district. He has a broader agenda, a vision for growing the community, and the people skills to be effective on council.”
Although the paper also praised him for viewing transportation as District 7’s biggest priority, Davison says Viera has failed to lead on the issue during this campaign.
The Times stated he was ‘the best prepared’ candidate,” writes Davison on his website. “If he was so prepared, where was he when we were debating GO Hillsborough and the sales tax, the tax he most passionately wants? Where was he when the TBX debate was going on? Everyone knows where I have been, standing up for the communities of District 7.”
In response, Viera says that Davison hasn’t been paying attention to his campaign.
“Obviously my opponent Jim has not taken the time to review my positions or involvement, like the Times editorial board did, and makes number of inaccurate assumptions,” Viera said on Monday. “His written social media response speaks for itself, and I look forward to discussing further my positions and platforms with Jim and my neighbors at our two forums …”
The two candidates will debate Nov. 29 at the New Tampa Library. Veira says there also will be a second debate, scheduled for the following night at the Babe Zaharias Golf Course.
The 38-year-old Viera is an attorney who co-founded the Lawyers for Autism Awareness Foundation in 2011 to help children suffering from autism.
Davison is an emergency room physician who founded the New Tampa Transportation Task Force and served on the county’s Committee of 99, tasked with finding a solution to the county’s transportation woes back in 1999. This is his third attempt at public office after two runs for county commission as a Republican in 2002 and 2004.
This is Viera’s first run for public office.