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Two new candidates jump into the Tampa City Council District 7 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The field of candidates vying to fill in the remaining 2.5 years of Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Monteleone’s term in office has increased in the past two days.

On Thursday, Avis Harrison entered the District 7 contest, and on Friday, Jim Davison filed to run in the North Tampa seat.

The 61-year-old Davision, an emergency room physician, is no newcomer to public policy issues in the city and county. He’s served on a number of advisory boards and task forces over the past 20 years, and has twice ran unsuccessfully for county commission as a Republican (in 2002 and 2004).

Davison was the founder of the New Tampa Transportation Task Force and on the county’s Committee of 99 tasked with finding a solution to the county’s transportation woes – in 1999.

Transportation is very much on his mind these days. He says he advocated to individual County Commissioners not to approve putting the Go Hillsborough measure on the ballot, as he believes, as do other critics, that there is plenty of funds in the existing county budget to pay for transportation improvements.

He says it was “the behavior” of the current Tampa City Council on issues like Go Hillsborough and the Tampa Bay Express project that compelled him to enter the race, saying their support for the former and opposition to the latter was “just the wrong strategy.”

“I just didn’t like the direction that the city council was going in and the information that they were providing the people,” said Davison, who says the entire transportation issue isn’t being presented in a proper way to the residents in Tampa and Hillsborough County.

“It’s not whether you’re for the TBX or your for transit, we’re going to need it all,” he says.

Harrison did not return calls for comment on Thursday and Friday.

Davison and Harrison’s entry into the race now brings the total number of candidates in the District 7 race to six, as they join assistant newspaper editor Gene Siudut, attorney Luis Viera, Dr. Cyril Spiro and former Tampa Police officer Orlando Gudes in the contest, which will take place on November 8.

The special election was called for after Montelione submitted her resign to run letter to Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. Montelione is running for the House District 63 seat this fall.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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