Tampa Chamber CEO is staying neutral in CD 13 battle

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The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is choosing to remain neutral in the increasingly contentious Congressional battle on the other side of Tampa Bay.

The announcement by Bob Rohrlack, the Chamber’s President and CEO since 2009, takes the focus away from the bitter partisan race in Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District between Alex Sink, David Jolly and Lucas Overby. Instead, he puts attention directly on the needs of the military personnel, civilians and family of MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa.

The statement issued Monday spoke of the loss of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died in October, calling the longtime military champion a “tireless fighter” for MacDill. Whoever wins CD 13 race it is “essential” that they support the Base, a significant economic mainstay for the Tampa Bay area.

“While we recognize MacDill lies in Congressional District 14 and we’ve worked closely with Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who is a great supporter of our Base,” Rohrlack says, “it is equally important that the person elected to Congressional District 13 understand MacDill’s significant regional economic impact.” 

“No matter who is elected, we stand ready to work with them on issues important to our military,” Rohrlack says. “We ask all three candidates for the Congressional District 13 seat to firmly commit to fight for MacDill and our military servicemen and women.”

Pinellas County voters have cast almost 75,000 mail-in ballots to date in the special CD 13 general election on Tuesday, March 11 between Republican Jolly, former state CFO and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sink and Libertarian Overby.

For more information on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, visit www.tampachamber.com.


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.