Mark Nash, a member of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee, has filed to run for the District 5 seat on the County Commission.
“I’m running because I’m not afraid to take on the challenges we face,” Nash said in a statement Wednesday. “This race is about bringing people together and finding solutions – I’m the person to get the job done.”
This will be Nash’s third effort to get on the board. He lost to Republican Al Higginbotham for the eastern Hillsborough District 4 seat in 2012 and also lost a Democratic primary to Pat Kemp for the District 7 seat in 2014.
A former aide to former County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, Nash is aggressively challenging Hillsborough Republicans by referring to the summer-long battle regarding the Confederate monument that stood in front of the county courthouse annex for more than a century.
“I want to thank Commissioner (Les) Miller and Commissioner Kemp for standing up to hatred and the politics of division. I also want to thank all the individuals and groups who showed that we can do good for our community when we work together,” Nash added. “The Tampa Chamber knew that those Commissioners hurt our community.”
Nash is a business consultant who works across the Southeast in consumer goods and project management.
“Employers want to come to a place that’s open to all their employees. Despite the Commission, our leaders have worked to create a great place to grow a business and create jobs, this decision trampled all over that work and set us back,” Nash said. “Hillsborough needs more collaborators who will do what’s right for the county instead of appeasing the radical fringe of their political party. I don’t shy away from tough choices, I think those moments define us.”
Nash says the monthslong debate about the monument was emblematic of a larger problem with the board.
“Our Commission is paralyzed by political games and fear,” Nash said. “From job creation and transportation to infrastructure and services, we can’t trust them to tackle minor matters let alone the major issues facing our region. I won’t get distracted by the same politics as usual.”
Although District 5 is an open seat, current District 2 Commissioner Victor Crist has already filed to run in the countywide race next year. Crist is one of the four Republicans on the board who originally voted to keep the Confederate monument in place. He was also one of the four who voted to have the public contribute $140,000 for moving the monument to a cemetery in Brandon.