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Joe Henderson: Kevin Beckner made a difference, which should never be forgotten

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

All politicians start out by saying how they want to make a difference. Well, Kevin Beckner did. His now-former colleagues at the Hillsborough County Commission acknowledged that Wednesday during his final meeting as a member of the board. He is leaving because of term limits after serving eight years. Yes, Beckner was the first openly gay man to serve on the commission, which by itself was highly significant given that just a decade ago Hillsborough banned any recognition of gay…

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Kathy Castor, Dennis Ross returning to Congress

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In a pair of results that could not be called surprising, Democrat Kathy Castor and Republican Dennis Ross won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Castor took about 61 percent of the vote in her race, while Ross took 58 percent. Neither race was expected to be closely contended. Castor, a liberal Democrat who was facing political newcomer Christine Quinn in the race for Florida’s 14th Congressional District, will be starting her sixth term in Congress. Ross faced Democrat…

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Joe Henderson: Hillsborough rideshare decision could rest with ‘problem solver’ Ken Hagan

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Ken Hagan has been elected five times to the Hillsborough County Commission. That ought to say something about the way voters feel he takes care of both his and the public’s business. Headlines tend to find him because he always seems to be involved in something important, but I wouldn’t say he seeks out publicity. Not at all. He tends to fly at treetop level, quietly working to get things done. And as Peter Schorsch of this great website just…

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Joe Henderson: In the end, Jim Norman was doomed by his own voice

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When Jim Norman announced last year that he would try to resurrect his political career by running for the District 6 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission, eyebrows arched all over Tampa. I mean, the man was toting a lot of baggage, if you get my drift. But among his many traits, Norman really trusts the sound of his own voice. He no doubt thought he could smooth-talk his way past his controversies and back into the voters’ good graces. His game…

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Tim Schock defeats one-time GOP power Jim Norman in Hillsborough primary

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The political career of one-time rising Republican star Jim Norman likely ended Tuesday in a resounding primary defeat for a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission. Norman was soundly defeated by Tim Schock for the right to face a Democratic challenger in November. “I think the race went according to plan,” Schock said Tuesday evening. “We ran a disciplined, diligent campaign and stayed focused on our message. I think the No. 1 issue with voters was trust and integrity, and…

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Tom Jackson: Old-school Democrat hopes Hillsborough can make a deal

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They’d reached closing statements at a recent forum for Hillsborough County Commission District 6 Democratic hopefuls in Bealsville, near Plant City, and Pat Kemp, the Tampa lawyer and serial candidate, was feeling magnanimous. The town center was a thing of beauty, she said. The town hall, expanded library, a roundabout with a flag at its center, the lovely boulevards linking them all. Just marvelous, she said. People of Plant City must be proud. As Kemp finished and took her seat,…

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Joe Henderson: Jim Norman’s climb to Hillsborough Commission steeper than he realized

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Since the start of his campaign for Hillsborough County Commission District 6, Jim Norman has understood that he has a lot of explaining to do. Right off the bat, he tried to address his checkered political past during a meeting last year with The Tampa Tribune editorial board. As a metro columnist for that late, great newspaper, I sat in on the meeting. I think it was basically a fiasco. It’s not that Jim Norman isn’t one of the most…

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