While Mike Suarez lost his bid to stay as Tampa City Council Chair in 2018, with Mayor Bob Buckhorn sticking around, the position no longer carries the gravitas that it did to observers a few months ago.
Suarez is likely to run announce his candidacy for mayor before he’s term-limited out as a councilman in the next 18 months, which will bring him more attention.
“In our divided era, Mike is one of those figures who is respected by both Republicans and Democrats and brings people together,” says Luis Viera, his good friend and council colleague. “Mike is a guy who really loves what does for a living on Council and it shows every single day.”
Suarez served for several years as the chair of the Hillsborough County Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), which gave him a platform to weigh in on local transportation issues. Missing that now, he may want to find an issue that could give him gravitas moving into the 2019 election campaign cycle.
This is Suarez first time on the list.
Joe Henderson’s Take
“This is Mike’s first time on the survey and I suspect next year he will rank higher. The great surprise will be if Suarez doesn’t join the fight to become Tampa’s next mayor. He is straightforward and willing to tackle controversial stuff, such as the whole sanctuary city debate. Suarez said he won’t do anything to make immigrants feel unwelcome. In this climate, that took some guts for a politician to say that.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.