The already crowded field of candidates for Tampa mayor and City Council is likely to get even bigger.
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis said Wednesday he has started laying the groundwork to run for mayor in March 2011.
"I just started in the last day or so making calls to people who care a great deal about this community and having a good mayor to help lead it," he said.
Davis, an attorney and a Democrat, was a principal in the nonprofit group that promoted a failed 1-cent sales tax for transit improvements. So would he push for another transit tax referendum in 2012 if he becomes mayor? He said it's too early to say.
Other candidates for mayor include County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, former City Council member Bob Buckhorn, former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, City Council chairman Tom Scott, former police Capt. Marion Lewis, and businessman Arthur Richardson.
In the City Council races, an Ybor City business owner and an emergency room physician are the latest entrants.
Carrie West, 58, owner of a gay-themed gift shop in Ybor City, has filed to run for the District 5 seat. West said his priorities are historic preservation; transportation, including improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians; and neighborhood infrastructure. But like many other candidates, he said the top issue is jobs. West points to his role in the growth of Ybor's Gaybor district as an example of his experience with economic development and job creation.
"We had 44 empty rental places in Ybor City when we were looking to open a store here in 2007," said West, who is also a member of the Barrio Latino Commission and the Ybor City Development Corp. The district has blossomed and, in addition to restaurants and clubs, now boasts a medical clinic, gay and lesbian community center and pharmacy.
Tom Scott holds the District 5 seat representing Ybor City and East Tampa. He is running for mayor. The other District 5 candidates are Lynette Judge, Frank Reddick and Stanley Gloster.
Dr. Jason Wilson, 32, an emergency room physician at Tampa General Hospital, has filed to run for the citywide District 3 seat.
Wilson, who grew up in Tampa and graduated from Plant High School, said patients often end up in the emergency room for reasons that go beyond medical need. "It's because of unemployment and they have no place else to go, a transportation system where a bus route can only get them to Tampa General and myriad other reasons," Wilson said, adding that he'd like to turn some of his insights into policy.
Curtis Stokes holds the District 3 seat, but is running for the at-large District 1 council seat. Attorney Seth Nelson is the other District 3 candidate.