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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks to run for Hillsborough commissioner



TAMPA — Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks on Tuesday said he's jumping into the crowded Democratic race for Hillsborough County commissioner.

Dicks said he hopes his experience as a mayor — and a farmer and a lawyer — would separate him from the rest of the commission.

“Hillsborough County is at a crossroads,” Dicks said in a statement. “The decisions made and the actions taken over the next years will impact our county for decades. We must ensure that our commission is one which serves public concerns, rather than favors private interests.”

In addition to his three terms as mayor of Plant City, Dicks served nine years on the city’s commission.

Dicks entry adds even more intrigue to one of Hillsborough County’s most hotly contested races. Former executive director of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party Pat Kemp, former Tampa city councilman and Hillsborough commissioner Tom Scott and lawyer and transit activist Brian Willis have already declared for the open countywide seat. Commissioner Kevin Beckner is termed out and is running instead for Clerk of the Circuit Court.

The race is also notable for who is running on the Republican side: former Commissioner Jim Norman. He is looking to restart his political career after leaving the state Senate amid controversy surrounding an Arkansas home purchased for his wife by a local businessman.

Norman will face Tim Schock, who owns a local consulting company and previously ran for commission in 2014. Norman holds a significant fundraising advantage over Schock ($108,000 to $40,000) — and the Democratic field as well.

For Democrats, Willis leads the pack with about $71,000 raised, followed by Kemp at $60,000 and Scott at just under $25,000.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:29pm]


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