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Citizens address gamut of issues at Tampa meeting of constitutional panel

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Florida’s vicennial Constitution Revision Commission made its first stop in the Tampa Bay area Wednesday. Members of the public came before the 37-member council — organized to get together every 20 years — and were allowed only two minutes to discuss what amendments should, or should not, be placed on the 2018 ballot. The first speaker, 18-year-old graduating high school senior John Alvarez, said one of the best ways to overcome income inequality in Florida would be to implement a…

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Tampa City Councilmembers ponder their own political future — now that Bob Buckhorn has decided his

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Tampa City Council Chair Mike Suarez says Bob Buckhorn‘s decision to opt out of a statewide run in 2018 should mean a lot less drama associated with the election for council chair next month, a development he says “is a good thing.” There was plenty of such drama surrounding the election of a council in 2015 and 2016, due to the uncertainty around Buckhorn’s political ambitions. But his announcement that he will forgo a run for governor and instead fulfill the last two years as…

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Kevin Beckner is open to running for local (and maybe state) office in 2018

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Kevin Beckner has moved on since a disappointing loss to Pat Frank in the Democratic primary for Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court. Beckner says he is currently studying to get his license to sell real estate in Florida. But he also acknowledges another run for political office isn’t out of the realm of possibility — and could come possibly as early as next year. When asked if he was considering a run against Al Higginbotham in the countywide District 7 race,…

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Mitch Perry Report for 12.19.16 – Florida electors feel the heat while the rest of the nation freezes

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Florida’s 29 Republican presidential electors gather in Tallahassee today to vote for well, presumably for Donald Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percent in the Sunshine State on November 8. While the world awaits to see if there’s any movement with the 290 nationwide Republican electors, our electors will be voting in perfect conditions, with the forecast set for 65 degrees today in the Capitol. That’s a far cry from the weather conditions of electors from much of the country today, and should…

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Pat Frank again attempts to make her case for more $ for clerks office at delegation meeting

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Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank made an impassioned plea to the members of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation Friday to give her office more money. It’s a speech Frank has repeatedly done to state lawmakers in recent years, and she once again cited statistics reflecting how much her agency is doing with so much less since the Great Recession of 2008. At that time, Frank said the Clerk’s office had 954 employees and a $78.2 million budget. Now it’s a $58.8 million budget…

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In wake of loss to Donald Trump, Hillsborough County Democrats get surge of requests to join their party

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At their first event since being devastated by the results of the presidential election, there was literally not enough room to contain the number of Democrats who showed up at the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee meeting in Ybor City Monday night. A second room adjoining the main boardroom at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County facility was opened to contain the overflow crowd. “We’ve been inundated since the election,” said Ione Townsend, the chair of the Hillsborough County DEC. Although officially only 14…

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Pat Kemp sworn in as newest Hillsborough County Commissioner

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Pat Kemp, Sandy Murman and Les Miller were all official sworn into office on Tuesday to serve on the Hillsborough County Commission for the next four years. For Miller and Murman, if all goes well they will have spent a full decade in office when their term ends in 2020. Both were elected in 2010, after serving previous stints in the Florida Legislature. For Kemp, it’s the culmination of her work over the past several years to finally sit on…

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