Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians: #4 – Bob Buckhorn

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#4 on the list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

“There’s a tangible sense that Tampa is on the move. In the two short years that Mayor Buckhorn has been at the helm, the city has seen millions in new investment, enjoyed a renewed sense of cooperation with Hillsborough County, and flawlessly juggled the Republican National Convention and the threat of Hurricane Isaac in the national spotlight. 

“The mayor is Tampa biggest – and best – advocate. He has traveled to Israel, Panama, and Colombia to drum up business and has a good working relationship with Tallahassee Republicans like Dana Young and Will Weatherford. He made streamlining the permitting process and creating a one-stop construction services center a priority to boost Tampa’s competitiveness. He tirelessly pursued the $10.9 million dollar TIGER Grant to finish Tampa’s Riverwalk, a project that first began nearly 30 years ago. Mayor Buckhorn has also found creative ways to revive Tampa’s urban core by leasing historic structures like the Classic Federal Courthouse and the Water Works Building to developers with plans to revive them. 

“Bob Buckhorn is not just the Mayor of Tampa. He is an advocate for the entire region, understanding that success in any part of the Bay Area will help float all boats. The impact of his focus on economic development and reviving his city’s urban core is paying off in Tampa and beyond. It’s no wonder that his approval ratings have reached more than 80%. “

I’ve known Bob Buckhorn for 100 years it seems.  Long before he was Mayor Buckhorn, many of us watched him learn Tampa – nearly one citizen, one street and one issue at a time. In fact, he did it so well that even when he was not serving in elected office, the average citizen often didn’t realize it. They just knew they could call on him for help. And, they did. They also knew he could make things happen for them.  And, he did.

“Bob arrived at City Hall with a very real sense of Tampa which he translated into a vision filtered through his definitive ‘can do’ style.  Incredibly decisive and focused, he is ever open-minded and approachable, encouraging pushback and other opinions – but be sure you come prepared for the discussion.  In the final analysis, he keeps in own counsel, and is more than willing to take responsibility for it.  I like to say, “Mayor Buckhorn does not have a glass jaw.” By that I mean in the end, he is unafraid to risk his own failure for the greater good of Tampa. That is a rare quality in an elected official – and it is why he is so effective for us. — Beth Leytham, longtime friend and supporter

For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.