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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Commissioner Mark Sharpe talks about challenging Kathy Castor in 2012



Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe is talking about challenging Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor for her Congressional seat in 2012. Sharpe, who pushed hard for the high speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando, said this week he wants to be able to participate in national discussions on deficit reduction and America's wars.

"The only question is how will I have that conversation," he said. "That's what I'll be announcing in August."

Sharpe, a retired Naval officer who worked on John McCain's presidential bid, is already floating a platform that could fly in Castor's heavily Democratic district. He said he disagrees with McCain's philosophies on U.S. action overseas.

"Before you send a man or woman overseas, you better understand wha tyou're going to do, how you're going to get in, and how you're going to get it out," Sharpe said. "I want to have that conversation about military affairs."  

As for deficit reduction, Sharpe dismissed the budget plan put forward by Paul Ryan, and said he's interested in proposals put forward by President Barack Obama's debt-panel commission, chaired by former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican, and Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton.

"They spent a lot of time working on it and it just kind of got dropped. It ought to be part of the conversation," Sharpe said. 

Sharpe ran for Castor's District 11 seat in 1996, but lost to Democrat Jim Davis. He was elected to the Hillsborough County Commission in 2004.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 6:00pm]


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