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Confederate monument issue prompts Kimberly Overman to enter race for Hillsborough County Commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Certified financial planner and Seminole Heights activist Kimberly Overman has filed to run for the countywide District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Overman becomes the fourth Democrat to enter the contest for what will be an open seat. Current occupant Al Higginbotham has said that he will step down next year.

Overman says she had been considering entering the race for some time, but said the events of this past week, when the GOP-controlled Commission flip-flopped again on the controversial issue of what to do with a Confederate monument, clinched her decision to run for office.

“We need some leadership, and clearly we don’t have a lot of that” she said on Friday afternoon, hours after officially declaring her candidacy.

“I’ve been watching from the sidelines for a long time, and then working at the grassroots levels as much as possible, either through volunteering through boards or other committees, or just advocating with different community groups for decades, and to my frustration it has mattered some, but not as much, so I think getting in the seat in order to lead this county in a direction that makes sense for all of our citizens, is now really critical.”

She’s also interested in boosting the workforce, saying the area has a lot of skilled tradespeople underemployed from last decade’s recession.

Overman briefly ran for the County Commission last year, intending to challenge fellow Democrat Les Miller in his District 3 seat, but she withdrew from that race.

She has become a prominent voice in the anti-TBX movement in Seminole Heights, so it’s no surprise to learn that one of her main reasons for running will be to address the issues with the county’s lackluster transit/transportation system.

“When we’re having to cut our bus service to the county and to our most disenfranchised individuals, because we haven’t funded HART to a level of reasonableness, we’re having to make some really bad choices, and that’s got to change,” she says.

The 58-year-old Washington D.C. native has volunteered in local government positions for years. She served as a member of the 2011-2016 City of Tampa Citizen Advisory Council. She was also the chair of the Hillsborough County Housing Finance Authority.

Overman has been the CEO and president of the investment advisory firm Financial Well for nearly 20 years, and operates the Heights Exchange, a co-working space in Seminole Heights. She’s also the president of the Heights Urban Corridor Chamber.

Overman may have slightly higher name recognition (certainly in Tampa) than the other Democrats who have filed to run for the seat – Angel D’Angelo, Sky U. White and Charles Davis III.

The heavyweight in the race is Republican Sandy Murman, who is leaving the District 1 seat she won less than a year ago to run for the District 7 seat, where she could possibly get eight more years on the Commission.

Hillsborough Democrats have been searching for candidates to challenge both her and Republican Victor Crist, who is expected to run in the countywide District 5 seat .

Running countywide is a formidable challenge, but Overman says she’s up for the task.

“I’m counting on the citizens of this county to help me, but also the relationships that I have built over the many years that believe that it’s time for new leadership.”

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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