Hillsborough County conservative activist Al Higginbotham makes his first appearance at #20 on the 2014 ist of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians.
First elected in a 2006 special election, the Plant City native is currently Commissioner of countywide District 4, but because of term-limits, he is now seeking to replace term-limited Mark Sharpe this year in District 7 and has raised about $160K in the process (nearly twice the amount raised by his opponents combined).
Higginbotham’s position on the list comes out of a life of public service, not only as a strong Tampa Bay Republican leader, but also from having functioned as both Chair and Chaplain of the Board of County Commissioners. He also had a seat on the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission.
As a former Congressional aide, Higginbotham also served as executive assistant to the Florida State Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner and served as Chair of the Hillsborough County Republican Party from 2003-2006.
Higginbotham has all the right moves for a staunch Republican — economic development, increased community participation and transparent budgeting, and pushing government efficiency. He also promoted the consolidation of various County departments without compromising programs or services.
Higginbotham is also a committed advocate for persons with disabilities, agricultural issue and faith-based causes, as well as starting the “Kids in the County” program to introduce students to County government.
In 2009, he was instrumental in creating Our Budget Matters, a program for public input in the budget process, an effort recognized by the National Association of Counties with the Achievement Award for Civic Education and Public Information in 2010.
Proving he has an enterprising attitude combined with a keen business sense, Higginbotham had a hand in bringing the high profile International Indian Film Academy’s 15th annual Weekend & Awards to Tampa. The IIFA event, chaired by Higginbotham, expects to generate 30,000-plus visitors to Tampa April 24-26. It is part of an overall strategy to promote Tampa to Indian film fans— using nearly $1 million in recently allotted Hillsborough County hotel-bed taxes — as well as a marketing campaign targeting Canada and the United Kingdom.
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.