#6 on the list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians is Senator Jeff Brandes.
“Smart, wealthy, and young, Brandes is certainly a man on the rise. Yet, he’s also gotten something of a bum rap — especially in local media. For the most part, Brandes is lumped in with the rest of the Tea Party. … I’ve never understood this. Yes, Brandes is a devout libertarian, but there’s no evidence of him believing the anti-immigration, anti-science thinking which is now synonymous with the right wing of the GOP.
“Brandes is, after all, the guy who touts the Google Car. He sponsored the bill to expand Silicon Valley-based SunBay Digital Mathematics. This past summer, he toured Apple’s headquarters in Palo Alto. In other words, he is not the kind of elected official who’d vote to take the fluoride out of the public’s drinking water.” — Peter Schorsch
“There are few people I’ve ever worked with that I respect as much as Jeff Brandes. He is as policy-focused, principled, and intelligent as anyone in the process. In the hyper-partisan environment of today’s politics, Jeff has shown he’s willing to break from leadership for principled reasons and he earned respect for it. One thing I can say with absolute confidence is that Jeff Brandes is in the legislature for all of the right reasons and that any fight he takes on is one that he philosophically believes in. That’s not always the case in Tallahassee and that’s why the Bay Area and the state of Florida are better off because of Jeff Brandes’ leadership.” — Representative James Grant
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.