New Hillsborough County Commissioners Sworn in by Mitch E. Perry

11/21/06

The new Hillsborough County Commission was sworn into office today. In addition to 3 new members being inducted into office, Jim Norman was re-elected to being the Commision Chairman.

The Board is the most Republican perhaps ever, with only 1 Democrat now on the 7 member Board.

And there will only be 1 female on it as well, that being Rose Ferlita, who has served on the Tampa City Council for nearly 8 years, before easily winning to succeed Kathy Castor in the County’s District 1 seat.

Ferlita’s victory over Democrat Mary Mulhern was not much of a surprise. But her surprisingly easy victory over former Tampa Chamber of Commerce member Brad Swanson in the GOP Primary was.

In that race, Swanson said that Ferlita needed to explain to Republican voters why she ‘votes so hard for the gay agenda’, and even worse, that she was a liberal.
Ferlita obliquely referenced to that campaign in her remarks (roll tape#1 o.q. “right here, right now�)

Relations between the City of Tampa and The County Commission have deteriorated in recent years, and the with the election of both Ferlita and fellow City Councilmember Kevin White could auger better relations between the local governments. Rose Ferlita said she hoped so as well (roll tape#2 o.q.�is concerned�)

The lone Democrat on the Commission, Kevin White succeeds the Reverend Thomas Scott in Hillsborough’s District 3, which includes the economically challenged East Tampa area. In recent years, some Tampa residents have said that certain Commissioners have not acted as if Tampa was part of the County…White said he’ll represent the whole County, and not just his district (roll tape#3 o.q.� today�)

For Jim Norman, it was his 5th time being sworn into office as a Hillsborough County Commissioner. The longest serving member of the Board ousted Democratic challenger Joe Redner by approximately 10 percentage points earlier this month.

Perhaps no vote was more controversial from the last board then the 5-1 ban on gay pride in the summer of 2005. But on that and other devisive issues, Jim Norman has generally been on the winning side (roll tape#4 o.q.�and deserves�)

The other new member sworn in today was former Hillsborough Republican Party Executive Committee Director Al Higgenbottham , who will succeed Ronda Storms in District 4.

Commission Chairman Jim Norman and Mark Sharpe are the 2 Republican incumbents re-elected on Election night. They join 2 other Republicans, Brian Blair and Ken Hagen, on the Board.

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