Wednesday, October 17, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former chief Jane Castor makes it official: She’s in the race for Tampa mayor

For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won't she?

Does Jane Castor, the city's first woman police chief, and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Not to mention the stress of a high-profile campaign?

Asked and answered. Castor's campaign has told the Tampa Bay Times that she will file later today at the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office.

"Many Tampa residents know me as their police chief, where for six years I led the largest department with the largest budget in our City," Castor said in a statement issued late Wednesday by her campaign. "Others know me as their neighbor and community advocate who has stood alongside them for the betterment of Tampa. We have accomplished so much, but there is still work to be done. I am running for mayor because our city needs a proven leader who will continue to celebrate our successes, while working with everyone to solve the important
challenges that lie ahead."

Castor, 58, joins a growing field that includes former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, businessman Topher Morrison and Michael Hazard.

Council member Mike Suarez is widely expected to announce soon, as is philanthropist David Straz.  Downtown Partnership chairman Mickey Jacob is a possibility, too.

Castor topped a 2017 poll of potential mayoral contenders. Shortly after, advisers formed a political action committee—Tampa Strong—that has raised $176,172 through March.

Ashley Walker, a Broward County political consultant who ran President Barack Obama's 2012 Florida campaign, will run Castor's campaign.

In the statement, Castor touted her record as police chief between 2009 and 2015.

Under her watch, crime was reduced by 70 percent. She oversaw security at the 2012 Republican National Convention and Super Bowl XLIII, the statement noted.

Her platform for mayor lists three main points: "strong foundation," "stronger neighborhoods" and "strong economy," centered around the principles of  public safety, fiscal prudence, efficient city services, neighborhood development, affordable housing and better transportation.

She highlights her 31-year police career including a reorganization and streamlining of the department, community outreach efforts and working with youth.

But Castor's record hasn't been free of blemish.

Castor took a step last week to defuse what will likely be a line of attack against her: a controversial program of targeting black bicyclists for minor violations that was outlined in a 2015 Tampa Bay Times series.

The policy was a mistake, Castor told the Times last week.

But she says she is focused now on what lies ahead.

"I believe our city's greatest resource is our citizens," Castor said in her campaign statement. "Our combined hard work, hopes and dreams are what make Tampa Strong. And with y0ur help, I'll stand strong as Tampa's next mayor, leading our city towards a brighter future."

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