Updated: Joe Redner to run for District 58 state House seat
Strip club owner Joe Redner has filed to run for the District 58 state House seat. Redner is running with no party affiliation for the seat that typically ends up in the hands of Democrats. Janet Cruz won the post in a special election in February. She has filed to run for re-election this year. Redner said he doesn't have any problem with Cruz in particular, and actually agrees with her on many issues. "I have an issue with everybody in the Legislature," Redner said. "They say they know what the problems are and how to fix them, but when it comes time at the end of the year to see if they've fixed anything, it's worse than it was before."
Redner, owner of the famed Mons Venus strip club, has run for Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission multiple times. This is his first attempt at state office. Redner is a fixture in Hillsborough County Democratic circles. He opposes offshore oil drilling, and said he believes the state needs to address teacher tenure issues, but has a problem with spending more than $200 million on a company that allows unqualified people to grade FCATs. One idea he has that he believes people will say is radical: Take property insurance away from private companies and put it in the hands of the state government. That will reduce costs by eliminating payments to insurance agencies and their agents.
Update: Cruz said she welcomes Redner's candidacy. "This is democracy in action," she said. "I really look forward to a healthy debate. Our state right now is facing environmental and economic crisis, and as a member of this House I publicly stated before this oil spill I opposed offshore oil drilling, and I still do." She also highlighted her support of the state's jobs bill. "These are serious times. And serious times call for serious representation," she said. "The voters of District 58 can be certain I will be there for them."
Janet Zink, Times staff writer