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Hillsborough County, FL – 2020 General Election

Below is the information I have found on the various candidates and constitutional amendments for the 2020 general election in Hillsborough County, Florida for my district. You can find your own sample ballot here. As noted, I’m politically an independent but registered as a Democrat so I can vote in Florida’s primaries. I generally try not to endorse candidates in my election guides.

(NOTE 09-12-2020: If there is information missing, it’s because I just got a copy of the ballot and am still looking for information.)

President/Vice-President

I’m fairly confident you’re not on my website looking for information about the candidates for President/Vice-President. Even so, I went ahead and put together the standard links I do for candidates.

Donald J. Trump & Michael R. Pence

Party: Republican
Background Information: Trump was in business and real estate. Pence was governor of Indiana.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website,

Joseph R. Biden & Kamala D. Harris

Party: Democratic
Background Information: Biden and Harris have been US Senators. Harris was also the attorney general of California.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website,

Jo Jorgensen & Jeremy “Spike” Cohen

Party: Libertarian
Background Information: Jo Jorgensen worked in the tech industry before becoming a professor at Clemson University, where she now teaches. Cohen is a former web-designer turned podcast and libertarian activist.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Jorgensen, Wikipedia – Cohen,

Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente & Darcy G. Richardson

Party: Reform Party (in Florida), Alliance Party (in other states)
Background Information: de la Fuente is in business, inheriting his father’s businesses. He’s wealthy and has engaged in some sketchy business practices. Richardson is an author and blogger focusing on third party candidates.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – de la Fuente, Wikipedia – Richardson,

Gloria La Riva & Sunil Freeman

Party: Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Peace and Freedom Party
Background Information: La Riva is an activist. Freeman is an author and activist.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – La Riva,

Howie Hawkins & Angela Nicole Walker

Party: Green Party
Background Information: Hawkins is an activist and politician. Walker was a professional driver before becoming a union representative.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Hawkins, Wikipedia – Walker,
Endorsements:

Don Blankenship & William Mohr

Party: Constitution Party
Background Information: Blankenship was a coal company CEO and a convicted criminal. Mohr is self-employed in building and construction.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia – Blankenship, Wikipedia – Mohr,
Endorsements:

Representative in Congress District 14

Christine Y. Quinn

Party: Republican
Background Information: Originally from California. Graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Child Development. Small business owner selling spices.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Facebook
Endorsements:

Kathy Castor

Party: Democratic
Background Information: Incumbent candidate. Daughter of a well-known Florida politician, Betty Castor. Graduated from Emory for undergrad and Florida State for law school. Was elected to Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners in 2002. Practiced law until being elected to the US House in 2006.
Finances: Federal Election Commission
Websites: campaign website, Twitter, Wikipedia
Endorsements:

State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit

Mike Perotti

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Andrew Warren

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

State Representative District 62

Angel S. Urbina Capo

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Susan L. Valdés

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Laurie Rodriguez-Person

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Sheriff

Chad Chronister

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Gary Pruitt

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Ron McMullen

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Property Appraiser

D.C. Goutoufas

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Bob “Coach” Henriquez

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Tax Collector

TK Mathew

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Nancy C. Millan

Party: Democrat
Background: Has worked for the tax collector’s office for decades (31 years), rising through the ranks; served on a number of boards, including the Board of Trinity School for Children from 2005-2008 (full disclosure – my son attended Trinity School for Children from about 2012 until 2020);
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: I received a flyer for Nancy Millan that was riddled with typos. That lack of detail bothers me. Millan is also purchasing ads on Google’s search engine. The Tax Collector’s website, hillstax.org, does use Cloudfare to protect against DDOS attacks, though the settings for the protection wouldn’t let me access the website, so someone set it up wrong.

Board of County Commissioners District 3

Maura Cruz Lanz

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Gwen Myers

Party: Democrat
Background: Tampa native; graduate of FAMU; worked for Hillsborough County for 25 years; now retired; served on a variety of local boards (e.g., Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council;
Endorsements: County Commissioner Pat Kemp among others
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Likes the color green. Platform seems to be focused on public transit.

Board of County Commissioners District 6

Sandra L. Murman

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Patricia “Pat” Kemp

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Justice of the Supreme Court

Shall Justice Carlos G. Muñiz of the Supreme Court be retained in office?

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

District Court of Appeal

Shall Judge Drew Atkinson of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Shall Judge Morris Silberman of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Shall Judge Daniel H. Sleet of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Shall Judge Andrea Teves Smith of the Second District Court of Appeal be retained in office?

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

County Court Judge Group 7

Monique Scott

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Criminology and Psychology from USF; former Tampa police officer (left for health reasons) and public school teacher; worked as an assistant state attorney; accident attorney; volunteers with epilepsy groups; married to a chiropractor
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Franchi Law firm

Bill Yanger

Background: Admitted to Florida Bar in 1989; admitted to Texas bar in 1986; graduate of Jesuit High School; went to University of Florida for undergrad; South Texas College of Law for law degree; founder of Yanger Law Group; works on complex business litigation; former Chair of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce; Board of Fellows member at the University of Tampa (full disclosure, I am a professor at the University of Tampa); Presbyterian – goes to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Endorsements: local firefighters unions, Tampa City Council members Guido Maniscalco, Charlie Miranda, and Luis Viera; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He drives a truck, per his flyer he circulated (seems important to him).
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

School Board Member District 1

In the primary election, no candidate received sufficient votes to win the election outright. The two candidates below are the top vote getters and are competing in this runoff election.

Nadia Combs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Social Studies Education and MA in Educational Leadership from USF; taught in Japan; taught in Hillsborough County Schools for 10 years; founded a company in 2005 as part of the Supplemental Education Services – provides free tutoring to students in Hillsborough County; opened Brighton Learning tutoring center in 2014
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Brighton Learning

Steve Cona

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; Bachelor’s from USF; CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter; on the Board of Trustees of Hillsborough Community College; platform is to improve Florida’s skilled labor force; incumbent
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Platform is three-fold: fiscal accountability, school security, and addressing maintenance problems in schools. Raised almost 10 times as much money as all the other candidates combined. Pretty telling that the Tampa Bay Times didn’t endorse him as the incumbent.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website,

School Board Member District 7

In the primary election, no candidate received sufficient votes to win the election outright. The two candidates below are the top vote getters and are competing in this runoff election.

Lynn Gray

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: worked for over 20 years as a teacher in Tampa; incumbent on the school board; platform – healthier kids (healthier foods and recess); more support for students; improved literacy
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Sally A. Harris

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: South Tampa native; owner of Circle C Ranch Academy – early care and education company; focus is on safety, discipline, and management
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She seems to care more about policing the kids than educating them.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Soil and Water Conservation District Group 2

Erik S. Challenger

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Michael Harvey

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Karen Cox Jaroch

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Douglas “Doug” Rivero

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Soil and Water Conservation District Group 4

Sonja P. Brookins

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

D.B. “Brig” Maynard

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

Mark Proctor

Party:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

No. 1 Constitutional Amendment

Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections

This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

Because the proposed amendment is not expected to result in any changes to the voter registration process in Florida, it will have no impact on state or local government costs or revenue. Further, it will have no effect on the state’s economy.

My Translation:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment

Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.

State and local government costs will increase to comply with the new minimum wage levels. Additional annual wage costs will be approximately $16 million in 2022, increasing to about $540 million in 2027 and thereafter. Government actions to mitigate these costs are unlikely to produce material savings. Other government costs and revenue impacts, both positive and negative, are not quantifiable.

This proposed constitutional amendment is estimated to have a net negative impact on the state budget. This impact may result in higher taxes or a loss of government services in order to maintain a balanced state budget as required by the constitution.

My Translation: This amendment would increase Florida’s minimum wage over time. I am fascinated by the estimates that are included with this amendment. They seem like a straightforward effort to try to dissuade voters from approving this.
Background Information: Florida’s minimum wage does increase slightly with inflation at present. However, as of 01/01/2020, minimum wage in Florida is $8.56.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: sponsor’s website,
Endorsements:

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment

All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet

Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.

It is probably that the proposed amendment will result in additional local government costs to conduct elections in Florida. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference projects that the combined costs across counties will range from $5.2 million to $5.8 million for each of the first three election cycles occurring in even-numbered years after the amendment’s effective date, with the costs for each of the intervening years dropping to less than $450,000. With respect to state costs for oversight, the additional costs for administering elections are expected to be minimal. Further, there are no revenues linked to voting in Florida. Since there is no impact on state costs or revenues, there will be no impact on the state’s budget. While the proposed amendment will result in an increase in local expenditures, this change is expected to be below the threshold that would produce a statewide economic impact.

My Translation:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment

Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments

Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.

It is probably that the proposed amendment will result in additional state and local government costs to conduct elections in Florida. Overall, these costs will vary from election cycle to election cycle depending on the unique circumstances of each ballot and cannot be estimated at this time. The key factors determining cost include the number of amendments appearing for the second time on each ballot and the length of those amendments. Since the maximum state cost is likely less than $1 million per cycle but the impact cannot be discretely quantified, the change to the state’s budget is unknown. Similarly, the economic impact cannot be modelled, although the spending increase is expected to be below the threshold that would produce a statewide economic impact. Because there are no revenues linked to voting in Florida, there will be no impact on government taxes or fees.

The financial impact of this amendment cannot be determined due to ambiguities and uncertainties surrounding the amendment’s impact.

My Translation: Per this article in the Tampa Bay Times, it’s not clear who funded this amendment, but it appears to be right-leaning corporations that are frustrated with the ability of Floridians to occasionally govern themselves. Powerful entities from political parties to corporations in Florida are frustrated when the citizens actually enact legislation that a super-majority wants. This is another attempt by shadowy figures to attempt to reduce the ability of the people to govern themselves by making it harder to pass a constitutional amendment. I’ll go ahead and make my position on this clear – vote NO on Amendment 4.
Background Information: Currently, in order for an amendment to be added to the Florida constitution it requires just one election and a supermajority of voters to approve it of 60%.
Finances: I have not found any information on the finances.
Websites: sponsor’s website
Endorsements:

No. 5 Constitutional Amendment

Limitations on Homestead Property Tax Assessments; increased portability period to transfer accrued benefit

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

My Translation:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

No. 6 Constitutional Amendment

Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities

Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.

My Translation:
Background Information:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:
Endorsements:

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Hillsborough County, FL – Fall 2020 Primay

In researching candidates for elections, I have taken to posting links to the information I find on my website to help others. Note, I’m a registered Democrat only so I can vote in the Democrat primaries. I would prefer to be considered an Independent voter as I vote by the candidate, not by party. Here’s what I’ve found…

Update 07-27-2020: The Tampa Bay Times has put together a nice voter information guide that is pretty comprehensive. It doesn’t include links to candidates’ websites, but provides a fair amount of information. I’ve been wishing for something like this for a long time. I highly recommend it.

Update 08-20-2020: I have crossed out those who lost in the primary. I will start a new page for the general election.

Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller

Tampa Bay Times article on the race. Tampa Bay Times on Stuart entering the race.

Kevin Beckner

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Hillsborough County Commissioner from 2008 to 2016; Executive Director of the Hillsborough County Civil Service Board (hears appeals of employee discipline and termination); CSB was abolished in 2019; BA in Criminal Justice from Indiana University; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy degree in 1990; (hypes his credentials by referencing a Harvard Leadership program that isn’t anything meaningful); financial planner by profession
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Twitter,
Endorsements: lots of labor unions,

Cindy Stuart

Party: Democrat
Background Information: Hillsborough County School Board member from District 3; has a degree in business from Florida International University; worked in insurance before running for the school board
Endorsements: outgoing clerk, Pat Frank (possibly because Beckner ran against her in an earlier campaign)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Twitter, Facebook,

Tax Collector

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Nancy C. Millan. Tampa Bay Times article on April Griffin entering the race.

April Griffin

Party: Democrat
Background: Served on the Hillsborough County School Board for 3 terms; was chair of Hillsborough County School Board twice; BA in Organizational Studies from Eckerd College; Hillsborough County native; owns a software development company
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Nancy C. Millan

Party: Democrat
Background: Has worked for the tax collector’s office for decades (31 years), rising through the ranks; served on a number of boards, including the Board of Trinity School for Children from 2005-2008 (full disclosure – my son attended Trinity School for Children from about 2012 until 2020);
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: I received a flyer for Nancy Millan that was riddled with typos. That lack of detail bothers me. Millan is also purchasing ads on Google’s search engine. The Tax Collector’s website, hillstax.org, does use Cloudfare to protect against DDOS attacks, though the settings for the protection wouldn’t let me access the website, so someone set it up wrong.

Board of County Commissioners District 3

Tampa Bay Times story on Rick Fernandez entering the race. Tampa Bay Times endorsed Thomas Scott.

Ricardo “Rick” Fernandez

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native (born in District 3); Navy veteran; Lawyer and former Tampa Heights Civic Association president; currently a career coach and recruiter for law firms;
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: Twitter, LinkedIn

Gwen Myers

Party: Democrat
Background: Tampa native; graduate of FAMU; worked for Hillsborough County for 25 years; now retired; served on a variety of local boards (e.g., Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council;
Endorsements: County Commissioner Pat Kemp among others
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Likes the color green. Platform seems to be focused on public transit.

Frank Reddick

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native; graduated from Paine College in Augusta, GA; served on Tampa City Council for 8 years; President and CEO of Sickle Cell Association, served on lots of local boards
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Thomas Scott

Party: Democrat
Background: native of Macon, Georgia; graduate of UNF – degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology; has an MA in Biblical Studies from the Assembly of God Theological Seminary; Army veteran; moved to Tampa in 1980 to be a pastor (22nd Street Church of God); served as Hillsborough County Commissioner from 1996 to 2006; served on Tampa City Council from 2007 to 2011; was appointed by Rick Scott to the State of Florida Elections Commission in 2015
Endorsements: Chad Chronister – Hillsborough County Sheriff; Les Miller – Hillsborough County Commissioner District 3 (who he would be replacing); Tampa Bay Times
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: He sent a flyer in the mail.

Sky U. White

Party: Democrat
Background: Hillsborough County native; nurse; community organizer; owns REVIVED magazine; served on a lot of boards
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Personal Commentary: Youngest candidate (per her website); most progressive candidate as well; probably the only candidate who would bring fresh ideas to the Hillsborough County Commission.

Before considering candidates for the various court benches, you should check out the Judicial Candidate Forum video and information hosted by the North Tampa Bar Association.

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 9

Tampa Bay Times endorsed John Schifino.

Kelly Ayers

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BS in Journalism and Communication from University of Florida; law degree from Stetson; practicing law for 26 years; owns three law firms; visiting professor at USF; editor of Stetson Law Journal
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She misspelled Communication (she put an “s” on the end) – personal pet peeve;
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

John Schifino

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: father was a lawyer; lived in Tampa for a long time; on a number of boards;
Endorsements: Firefighter unions; Janet Cruz; Bob Buckhorn; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: Not much about his views on his website; sent a flyer
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, LinkedIn

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 19

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Michael J. Scionti.

Ashley Ivanov

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from Charleston, SC; graduated from The George Washington University; probate and estate planning attorney; admitted to bar in Florida in 2015; founded her own firm in 2018; limited experience; clerked for the federal government; volunteers with her church in Brandon
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website

Michael J. Scionti

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; served as a state representative, army officer, US diplomat; originally elected in 2014;
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He has a Wikipedia page!
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Wikipedia

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 30

Tampa Bay Times recommends Helene Daniel.

Danny Alvarez

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Journalism from University of Florida; family is from Cuba; played sports in college and was in the ROTC; admitted to Florida Bar in 2008; Army infantry officer; worked for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office since 2017 as a special projects manager and communications chief; motivational speaker
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: I have never trusted anyone who calls themselves a “motivational speaker”. “His family escaped communist Cuba” – phrasing from his website strongly suggests very conservative views.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

Helene Daniel

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: born in France; admitted to Florida Bar in 1986; experience with family law, juvenile law, and insurance; AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times, La Gaceta
Personal Commentary: Loves her dogs
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 31

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Greg Green.

Scott Bonavita

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: born in Glen Falls, NY; moved to Tampa at 9; Gaither High School graduate; played soccer; attended the University of Tampa to play soccer (full disclosure, I’m a professor at UT) then left to pursue a career with the Rowdies – only played one game for the Rowdies; BA in Psychology from USF; JD from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami; former prosecutor; owned his own firm since 2012; handles business law; certified court mediator; emphasizes he is a single father; is also a personal trainer and teaches CrossFit
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: really proud of his son
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram, Law Firm

Gary Dolgin

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Florida native; lived in Tampa since he was 2; attended Emory University; law degree from University of Florida; admitted to Florida Bar in 1990; was an assistant state attorney and public defender; owned his own firm focusing on family law since 1993; board-certified in his field; author of a book on family law; volunteers regularly; member of Congregation Schaarai Zedek
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Seems like the most humble candidate.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Greg Green

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; played basketball and football at Chamberlain High; got his law degree in 1999; worked as an assistant state attorney; his current law practice focuses on divorce and child custody cases; volunteer flag football coach at Robinson High School; biblical counselor at the Crossing Church;
Endorsements: various firefighter unions; Tampa Bay Times
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook

Circuit Judge, 13th Judicial Circuit Group 39

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Steven Scott Stephens.

Wendy Joy DePaul

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: graduated from FSU and Stetson University College of Law; admitted to the Florida Bar in 1997; has a CPA; managing partner of a law firm; practice is a mix of family law, bankruptcy, and foreclosure; provides free legal assistance to the poor; active with her congregation
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: loves dogs
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Steven Scott Stephens

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: incumbent – has been a judge for 15 years; was appointed in 2005 by Jeb Bush; has a PhD in business as well as advanced degrees in computer science and engineering; former faculty member at USF, UT, and Stetson University; published author on trial court and family law
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: Who gives their kid the same first name as their last name?; He has ads on Google; Definitely playing up the fact that he is the incumbent.
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website;

County Court Judge Group 7

Tampa Bay Times endorsed Bill Yanger.

Nancy L. Jacobs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from Miami; University of Florida for undergraduate degree; JD from University of Miami; former Hillsborough prosecutor; owned her own firm since 1993 handing family law, criminal defense, and estates; provides free legal services on behalf of veterans, animal welfare groups, and youth organizations
Endorsements: a number of judges and attorneys
Personal Commentary: rescues dogs
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook

Monique Scott

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Criminology and Psychology from USF; former Tampa police officer (left for health reasons) and public school teacher; worked as an assistant state attorney; accident attorney; volunteers with epilepsy groups; married to a chiropractor
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Franchi Law firm

Rickey “Rick” Silverman

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: from New York; grew up in a blue-collar family; first practiced in Miami then moved to Tampa (in 1995); wife has a PhD in Microbiology; top-rated traffic attorney;
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website,

Bill Yanger

Background: Admitted to Florida Bar in 1989; admitted to Texas bar in 1986; graduate of Jesuit High School; went to University of Florida for undergrad; South Texas College of Law for law degree; founder of Yanger Law Group; works on complex business litigation; former Chair of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce; Board of Fellows member at the University of Tampa (full disclosure, I am a professor at the University of Tampa); Presbyterian – goes to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Endorsements: local firefighters unions, Tampa City Council members Guido Maniscalco, Charlie Miranda, and Luis Viera; Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary: He drives a truck, per his flyer he circulated (seems important to him).
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Judicial Candidate Forum responses
Websites: election website, Facebook, Instagram

School Board Member District 1

The Tampa Bay Times recently announced their endorsements for School Board in Hillsborough County. Good Tampa Bay Times article with information on the candidates in this race.

Nadia Combs

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: BA in Social Studies Education and MA in Educational Leadership from USF; taught in Japan; taught in Hillsborough County Schools for 10 years; founded a company in 2005 as part of the Supplemental Education Services – provides free tutoring to students in Hillsborough County; opened Brighton Learning tutoring center in 2014
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Brighton Learning

Steve Cona

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; Bachelor’s from USF; CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter; on the Board of Trustees of Hillsborough Community College; platform is to improve Florida’s skilled labor force; incumbent
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Platform is three-fold: fiscal accountability, school security, and addressing maintenance problems in schools. Raised almost 10 times as much money as all the other candidates combined. Pretty telling that the Tampa Bay Times didn’t endorse him as the incumbent.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website,

Ben “Floridaman” Greene

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: No website. Not a lot of information about him.
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Appears to be running a protest campaign. Was thrown out of a School Board meeting. Here’s a video of him talking to the School Board.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites:

Bill Person

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Retired educator in Hillsborough County; Vietnam War veteran
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: Not much about him available.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: LinkedIn

School Board Member District 7

Tampa Bay Times article about the candidates in this race.

Lynn Gray

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: worked for over 20 years as a teacher in Tampa; incumbent on the school board; platform – healthier kids (healthier foods and recess); more support for students; improved literacy
Endorsements: Tampa Bay Times
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Sally A. Harris

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: South Tampa native; owner of Circle C Ranch Academy – early care and education company; focus is on safety, discipline, and management
Endorsements:
Personal Commentary: She seems to care more about policing the kids than educating them.
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website

Jeffery Alex James Johnson

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: From Jacksonville, FL; has degrees from Warner University (private Christian university) and St. Thomas Christian University (fake online university with no accreditation) – the degrees are all highly suspect; runs a Girls Summit; works as a Senior Manager of Neighborhood Initiatives for United Way Suncoast
Endorsements: County Commissioner Les Miller; State Representatives Wengay Newton and Dianne Hart
Personal Commentary: If he isn’t knowledgeable enough to know that a doctorate from an online diploma mill with no accreditation isn’t a real degree, he has no business being on the school board. Website is filled with typos. (I try not to endorse candidates on this page, but I oppose this candidate.)
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Angela Schroden

Party: nonpartisan race
Background: Tampa native; lives on Davis Islands; EdD from USF; literacy consultant and adjunct professor at USF in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; volunteers at Hyde Park United Methodist Church and South Tampa Community Bible Study; worked in Hillsborough County Schools for 15 years
Endorsements: local teachers and principals
Personal Commentary:
Finances (per voterfocus.com)
Websites: election website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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Letter to Stacy White, County Commissioner

Stacy White, Hillsborough County Commissioner, filed a lawsuit that is preventing Hillsborough County from improving its transportation infrastructure based on a ballot measure that was approved by 57% of voters in November 2018 (more about this here). Here’s the email I recently sent him:

Commissioner White,

I want to let you know that I’m really disappointed in you for filing the lawsuit that has held up improvements to our transportation system in Hillsborough County. I travel regularly for my work to conferences both in the US and around the world. In most major cities, when I arrive at the airport, I can easily hop on a train or subway and get to where I need to go.

I love Tampa’s airport. It’s my favorite airport perhaps in the world (though Zurich’s airport is pretty impressive as well). But I am appalled that we don’t have easy public transit from the airport to downtown Tampa. The transportation tax would have fixed that. And now, because of you, the entire process has been held up in stupid lawsuits.

I sit on the board of a professional organization that chooses where to hold conferences. One of the major factors in our decision-making process is public transit from the airport to the hotel. By not improving our transportation infrastructure, we are losing out on millions of dollars from such conferences every year. I hold you personally responsible for that.

I will be donating money to your opponent in the upcoming election to ensure you don’t have another term in office.

Sincerely,

Ryan Cragun
Hillsborough County Resident

(NOTE: You can submit your own letter here.)

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