The first time Mike Mikurak spoke with SaintPetersBlog, he focused on his personal plan for Pinellas County.
Over a month later, and after raising $34,000 in contributions and loans for his cause, that plan has become more refined.
Mikurak, a 61-year-old Republican from St. Petersburg who’s running for County Commission’s District 3 seat, addressed supporters last night at Island Way Grill, out on Clearwater Beach.
“I believe it’s time to put experienced business people, not just career politicians, in charge of our decision making and tax dollars,” said Mikurak, whose host committee includes Pinellas County Clerk of Courts Ken Burke, state Sen. Jack Latvala, state Rep. Chris Latvala and St. Pete City Councilmember-elect Ed Montanari, among a long list of others.
During his speech, he characterized his plan for Pinellas as having three core initiatives. The first: to create sustainable jobs and economic development.
“Pinellas needs an influx of new businesses, with more people working and contributing,” said Mikurak.
He also expressed, in his opinion, a need for improved communication between Pinellas cities and county government.
“We need to focus on reducing government waste, through coordination and collaboration,” he said. “I’ve had nine global patents in the area of business collaboration, so I think I know what I’m talking about and I think I know how to do this.”
The last of his three primary initiatives for Pinellas: encourage a value-driven healthcare system.
Value-driven healthcare, in theory, is a care-management strategy that pays doctors for providing their patients with a higher quality of care, while simultaneously reducing costs.
“We need to focus on our quality of life,” said Mikurak, who likes to use the line as a slogan for his healthcare agenda. “We live in paradise and everyone should enjoy it.”
Politics aside, when it comes to having the credentials to back up the rhetoric, Mikurak’s got it covered.
He retired from Accenture, Plc. in 2003, a company he helped take public as a founding partner. While there, his efforts were focused primarily on business strategy and supply chain management.
Although, it was in 2013 that Mikurak’s political career really started to take root. That year he was appointed to a three-year term on Pinellas’ Juvenile Welfare Board by Gov. Rick Scott.
Since then, Mikurak’s gone on to serve as the chairman of the Board of Trustee’s at St. Anthony’s Hospital, and as a member of the Board of Trustee’s at Palms of Pasadena Hospital.
Currently, he serves as the chairman of the BayCare Health System Audit Committee, and as a member of the BayCare Board of Directors, the CareerSource Pinellas Board, and the Science, Technology, Education and Innovation Center (STEIC) Board of Trustees.
“I want to do my part to ensure our children, our grandchildren, and their children have the opportunity to live, work and enjoy the paradise we call Pinellas County, Florida,” Mikurak concluded.
He also made sure to play a little party politics with the home crowd before finishing up.
“Although I tend to think more in terms of getting the job done through collaborating with others for success, [than in terms of] worrying about party politics, make no mistake, I am a lifelong conservative Republican who is committed to taking back, winning back, the majority that we lost this last election.”
Current County Commissioner Pat Gerard’s victory over Ed Hooper in the District 2 countywide race for Pinellas County Commission last fall allowed the Democrats control of the Commission for the first time in a generation. Of the seven County Commission seats, Democrats now hold four.
The District 3 seat Mikurak is after is currently held by 47-year-old Democrat Charlie Justice, who has yet to file his paperwork to run for re-election, but has publicly stated that he’ll be running again in 2016.
In addition to the District 3 seat, seats for Districts 1, 5, and 7 will also be up for grabs during the 2016 general election, which falls on November 8. Three of those four opening seats are currently held by Democrats.