Ladies and gentleman, we have our first surprise of Qualifying Week — the period candidates for state and local office have to file theirpaperwork to make their candidacies official.
Rich Reidy unexpectedly announced his withdrawal as a candidate for Florida House of Representatives District #47. Although highly competitive with a respectable financial war chest, Reidy, who has deep grassroots support and a long history of serving Hillsborough County citizens as an aide to Commission Chair Ken Hagan, indicated that he had a change of heart after walking through the neighborhoods of Odessa, Keystone, Lutz, Northdale, Carrollwood Village, Original Carrollwood, Citrus Park and Forest Hills.
“I was overwhelmed by the depth of support I received, and at the same time, the genuine regret many expressed that I was leaving the County,” said Reidy. “Those many voices of encouragement helped me to realize that my heart and passion is in local government. It is what I know, what I love and where I can best serve. I’ll just have to wait until either 2012 or 2014 to run for a county commission seat.”
Well versed on multiple public policy issues, such as transportation and public safety, Reidy is also known for his work on Internet child safety legislation, which was inspired by a Hillsborough County program (Cybersafe) that he formulated and that more than 157,000 school-aged children have completed.
“Rich has been our go-to guy for so many years at the County,” said Northdale Civic Association president Ann Frisbie. “On one hand, I’m a supporter of his House candidacy. On the other hand, it comes as wonderful news and great relief to learn we are still going to have him to help us locally.”
The decision was a difficult one; however, Reidy believes that District #47 will be well served by James Grant as their representative, and is publicly endorsing the young attorney.
“James is bright, educated and eager to serve,” said Reidy. “I think he’ll be an able guardian of the taxpayer dollar and the tenets of less government and less spending. At the same time, he’ll bring new and fresh ideas to Tallahassee.”