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Activist Sky White ends Hillsborough Commission run, citing lack of minority ‘voter influence’

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Saying she doesn’t think there is a sufficient “voter influence” for minority candidates currently, Sky White, a 33-year-old community activist who had filed to run for the Hillsborough County Commission District 7 seat last month, has decided to drop out of the contest.

“Definitely don’t count me out, you’ll be hearing from me again,” White told FloridaPolitics.com Wednesday night. “I just want to make sure that I’m focused on the right thing right now.”

A licensed personal nurse, White is also editor-in-chief of REVIVED magazine, which launched last December, touted as “Tampa’s most-influential black-owned magazine.”

White is also the founder and program director of REBORN Tampa, a nonprofit serving underprivileged youth. REBORN facilitates a free summer reading program for underperforming youth, as well as civil rights courses and an annual back-to-school community rally.

Instead of running for office, White says she wants to focus on becoming more of a voice for the minority community in Hillsborough County, saying, “We don’t have solid representation in our community and I want to work towards doing more about that for this upcoming election.”

She says she’s concerned about the community understanding how important local elections are.

“We know Les Miller, we have a lot of minority coalitions in Tampa, but in my opinion, they don’t have a lot of voter influence,” she said. “I want to focus on creating a strong voter influence from what we have not been able to do.”

White spoke just hours after the Hillsborough County Commission voted 4-3 to maintain a Confederate monument that stands outside of the annex at the Hillsborough County Courthouse. She said that it was surprising that it happened in Tampa.

“Hillsborough County has been very diverse, and I have family members visit me from up north, and when they arrive down I-75 and see that Confederate Flag, it shocks them because you don’t think of Tampa being like that — keeping the monument and then you see that flag,” she says. “It just doesn’t resonate with the community.”

White is referring to what its supporters have boasted is the world’s largest Confederate flag, erected in 2009 at the intersection of I-75 and I-4 which measures 30 feet high and 60 feet long and hangs from a 139-foot pole.

“We can’t rely on just a handful of leaders, they’re getting older now,” says White. “It’s time for millennials to really get a stronghold on what’s going on and to move forward in their stead.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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