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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Petersburg Mayor Baker considers U.S. Senate run



MayorrickbakerST. PETERSBURG-- Mayor Rick Baker said he hasn't ruled out a potential Senate run.

"I'm not taking anything off the table," he said when asked whether he would go after the seat being vacated by Republican Mel Martinez.

Baker said that while other Republican politicians are waiting to see whether Gov. Charlie Crist gets in the race, he has other considerations to weigh. "I'm primarily focused on doing my job," he said. "I don't want to get distracted."

Now that makes two Tampa Bay mayors in the mix to succeed Martinez. Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio also has said she might enter the race.

So what would Baker do if he was in Congress these days?

Baker said he told the crowd at a Governing magazine event in Washington on Tuesday that President Barack Obama needs to ensure that schools are still accountable if he tweaks the No Child Left Behind Act.

He also said Obama needs to set a goal for energy independence and follow through.

Baker said he supports parts of the stimulus plan that will help Florida's crippled construction industry, bolster the state's infrastructure and create jobs. But, Baker said, the president needs to cut every bit of pork from the plan.

"The stimulus program only should include items that stimulate the economy," he said.

He said he plans to run his ideas by local legislators.

Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:19pm]


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