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#24 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Janet Long

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Top 25 24A Pinellas County commissioner, Long bumped her way up from dead last on the 2015 list of most powerful Tampa Bay politicians to second to last.

A Democrat, she was elected to the commission in 2012 after serving in the Legislature from 2006 until 2010. Long is nearing the end of her first term on the county commission and looks a shoo-in for re-election.

She’s also vice chairwoman of this year’s board, lending her strength on the dais now, for the first time in 50 years, controlled by Democrats.

The board now tackles issues Long has championed, such as decriminalizing certain marijuana offenses.

Long also served on the Seminole City Council from 2002 until 2006.

Though not a high-profile public servant, Long has been a vocal Democrat in the Tampa Bay area. As a left-leaning politician in a far right legislature, she frequently took opportunities with the press and in public appearances to criticize hyper-conservative policies.

She fought against a barrage of anti-choice legislation and was a vocal proponent for expanding Medicaid making her an icon among local Democrats.

Barry Edwards, a Democratic strategist said Long’s like “everyone’s grandmother, a straight shooter” who “tells it like it is” and is “not afraid to make waves and shake things up.”

Long is a familiar face in political circles, appearing regularly at meetings of the Suncoast Tiger Bay, where she’s vice president.

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For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel that assembled 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 SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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