State Representative Ed Hooper — the former Clearwater City Commissioner who hasn’t lost an election in over a decade — remains stable at #21 on the 2014 SaintPetersBlog list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians.
As a Republican representing House District 67, Hooper has won re-election regularly in the Democratic-leaning area incorporating much of Clearwater and Largo. He is in the process of finishing his fourth and final term in the Florida House, with a career in Tallahassee that had him rising to become Deputy Majority Leader. He has already chosen his successor, Chris Latvala, who began his own political aspirations as Hooper’s legislative aide.
Currently, Hooper serves as chair of the Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, a post putting him in the forefront of the push for improved transportation in Pinellas County. Hooper’s public opposition to the Greenlight Pinellas Transit plan puts him often at odds with many of the measure’s supporters.
During his last campaign, Hooper told the Tampa Bay Times he does not favor an additional sales tax for light rail, even though he had previously sponsored legislation to forcing the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to terminate the property transit tax if voters increased the sales tax—a key selling feature of the Greenlight Pinellas initiative.
Since Hooper is term-limited in HD 67, he will continue being politically active with a new campaign for the District 2 seat on the Pinellas County Commissioner District 2, likely facing Republican incumbent Norm Roche.
For his conservative bona fides, Hooper has numerous “A” ratings from the Florida Chamber of Commerce Honor Roll, Florida Education Association and the Florida Home Builders Association. He also won the Florida League of Cities Legislative Appreciation Award in 2010 and 2012.
“Ed Hooper is the model public servant,” says Republican Chris Latvala, who is running to succeed Hooper in House District 67. “He has devoted his life to helping people, first as a firefighter and now as a State Representative and future County Commissioner. He is one of the main reasons why I decided to seek public office and if I am successful, I plan to emulate his leadership style.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.