If Brown doesn't run, Tony Hill says he too is in for Congress
If U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown decides she to abandon her Jacksonville-based congressional district to run for the newly-created black majority district in Orlando, former state Sen. Tony Hill said Tuesday he is ready to run.
"I'm with Corrine 100 percent but if she decides to go another direction, we will give it every consideration,'' Hill told the Herald/Times. "We will not give up ground in Jacksonville."
Hill, 58, said that Brown is still considering challenging the new configuration of District 5, the Jacksonville-based Democratic district that she has represented since 1992, in federal court. Brown argues that the court-ordered configuration of the district disenfranchises black voters she has long represented.
Hill's sign of interest comes on the same day former state Sen. Al Lawson ended speculation and announced the he will run for the new District 5 seat if Brown doesn't stay. Like Lawson, Hill said he expects a primary.
"When you rise up to that level, you've got to merit it,'' he said. "I'm interested in carrying on what the congresswoman has done."
But, he added, the field could get crowded as other Jacksonville elected officials such as Sen. Audrey Gibson, who replaced Hill in the state Senate, or state Rep. Reggie Fullwood, also consider a run.
"Trust me,'' he said. "Some people have been waiting a long time for an opening like this to happen."
Hill, who began a long union career as a longshoreman, is now a consultant and working on a statewide civic engagement campaign with the NAACP that aims to get black voters out to vote. He served in the Florida House from 1992 to 2000 and in the Florida Senate from 2002 to 2010.
"We've got to get people connecting policy with politics,'' he said. "Black votes matter. We cannot continue to leave these votes on the table."