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#19 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Janet Cruz

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The first Latina House Minority Leader in the history of the Florida Legislature, Tampa Democrat Janet Cruz is perhaps at the maximum level of her power in the 2017 session, the first in her two-year stint.

Originally elected in a tightly contested special election in her overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning district in January 2010, Cruz has impressed friends and colleagues at her ascendance in Tallahassee.

Although there have been reports about her considering a run against Dana Young next year in the Senate District 18 race, the smart money seems to be that she may take a crack at a spot on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Cruz saw two of her priorities get passed in 2017 – a vote by mail signature fix and a bill requiring health insurers and HMOs offer medication synchronization programs.

Cruz knows “all too well the struggles that face working families, teen moms, single parents, small-business owners and the strife of young students who cannot afford higher education,” says her daughter, Ana Cruz, a lobbyist and former executive director of the Democratic Party of Florida.

This is the second time Cruz has placed in the survey. She placed No. 16 in the 2016 survey.

Joe Henderson’s Take

“I would have moved her up in the rankings by several notches. Democrats don’t hold much sway in the Legislature but Cruz, the Democratic House leader actually managed to stand out as a voice that reminded the Republican crowd that lawmakers’ responsibilities extend beyond cutting taxes and helping their charter school buddies.”

For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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