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Tom Scott looking at run for Hillsborough County District 6 seat

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Thomas Scott, a former Tampa city councilman and Hillsborough County commissioner, says he is seriously considering a run for the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat next year.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Scott told SaintPetersBlog on Wednesday afternoon, when he attended the Fight for 15 rally in Tampa’s Copeland Park that attracted hundreds of people.

The seat is being vacated by Democrat Kevin Beckner because of term limits, and a growing number of Democrats are declaring their candidacy for it.

In the past two weeks, transit activist Brian Willis and longtime progressive Pat Kemp have filed to run for the countywide seat. Willis is a first-time candidate, while Kemp narrowly lost against Republican Al Higginbotham in the District 7 County Commission race in November.

A number of familiar Republicans in the county have been floated as well — none more prominently than former Commissioner Jim Norman, who has not declared his candidacy.

Scott was on the county commission for 10 years with Norman, from 1996-2006. He then ran for and was on Tampa City Council from 2007-2011, before an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2011.

He was also unsuccessful in the summer of 2012, when he challenged Craig Latimer in the Democratic Primary for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.

The 61-year-old Scott serves as the senior pastor at the 34th Street Church of God in East Tampa. He recently was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to Florida Elections Commission.

Appearing at the Fight for 15 event that has become a rallying cry to raise wages for the working poor, Scott mentioned that he pushed for a living wage measure in Hillsborough County in 2004 that would have raised the wage for all county employees to $9.97 an hour. That was a very progressive stance considering that  minimum wage in Florida at the time was just $5.15 an hour (It’s now $8.05).

Although Scott initially mentioned interest in the District 6 seat, he seemed to back off somewhat when asked when he would officially file for the seat. “I’m just talking to all of the supporters right now,” he said. “It’s a crowded field.”

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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