Entering at No. 25 on the list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians is the eventual winner of the seat held by former Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who represented Pinellas County for more than 40 years before passing away in October.
In light of a bitter, national-marquee battle for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which has become the frontline for both national political parties – both Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink bring distinctively different backgrounds to Pinellas County — and Tampa Bay in general. The victor will not only represent a true swing-district, but also act as a bellwether for the 2014 midterms.
Jolly, 41, served as Young’s general counsel for the better part of 20 years, and was a registered Washington D.C. lobbyist involved in a variety of issues. Jolly’s work ranged from working with a conservative Tampa Bay business group, to providing pro bono work for child-advocate Mark Lunsford. His plan is to slash federal spending, repeal Obamacare and eliminate regulations holding back business development and jobs. If there is one thing to come out of Jolly’s candidacy, it is a better understanding of exactly what lobbyists do.
Sink, the 65-year-old former bank executive, was Chief Financial Officer for the state of Florida and treasurer on the board of trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration. However, most voters are familiar with Sink as the Democrat who lost to then-healthcare executive/millionaire Rick Scott in the one-percentage-point squeaker that was the 2010 race for Florida governor. Sink believes in fiscal responsibility, not raw spending cuts, and supports the Affordable Care Act, which she sees as fundamentally good, but flawed and requires significant fixes.
As the March 11 special election nears, Sink and Jolly (and their respective parties) battle it out for who will eventually represent Pinellas County in Congress —using Obamacare as a yardstick to gauge both public opinion and each other. The CD 13 contest demonstrates just how much Bill Young will be missed.
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.