Ed Montanari, one of St. Petersburg’s most involved and respected citizen leaders, will announce next month he’s running for the District 2 seat on the City Council, according to those close to the plain-spoken, razor-sharp airline pilot.
District 2 is currently represented by Bill Dudley, who is term-limited from running again.
In 2007, Dudley upset the better-financed Montanari in 2007 for the seat comprised of much of northeast St. Petersburg. Four years later, Montanari flirted with challenging Dudley before eventually deciding not to run.
2015 looks to be Montanari’s year.
A member of countless civic, community, and political boards and organizations, Montanari is often viewed as “Councilman Number Nine.”
Involved in city affairs for decades, Montanari, an American Airlines pilot, first made a name for himself by the evenhanded manner in which he led a citizens task force on Albert Whitted Airport.
Since then (and, perhaps more importantly) and after his defeat at the ballot box, Montanari has contributed thousands of hours of personal time to improving the City of St. Petersburg.
A member of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Council for more than seven years and a member of the Community Planning and Preservation Commission, Montanari has been a key part of several high-profile task forces, including those dealing with how to solve the Pier and Tampa Bay Rays issues.
There really is no one else in town with the kind of resume Montanari has.
Running for City Council is the natural next step for the former F-16 pilot. Look for Montanari to roll out his campaign sometime during the beginning of the next fundraising period. And when he does, look for a campaign steering committee comprised of, literally, hundreds of the city’s best and brightest.
You can also expect Montanari to assemble the same kind of full-scale campaign operation employed by other top local politicians, like U.S. Rep. David Jolly and state Sen. Jeff Brandes.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Montanari’s campaign is so well organized that only a political gadfly decides to run against him.
And that’s fine by me.
No one more deserves to be on St. Pete’s City Council than Montanari.