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Hillsborough County Commission, District 7 (Republican)

County Commission | District 7

Commissioner Al Higginbotham, forced out of conservative District 4 by term limits, is instead running countywide for the first time. Political newcomers Robin Lester and Tim Schock are standing in his way in the Republican primary, as is former candidate Don Kruse. Current District 7 Commissioner Mark Sharpe, a Republican, is leaving due to term limits. Will Hobson, Times staff writer


Robin Lester, 52


Managing partner, Florida Growth Partners

Al Higginbotham, 60


County commissioner

Don Kruse, 54


President, Beauty and Health Institute

Tim Schock, 41


President, Lightning Capital Consulting

Experience A self-described "serial entrepreneur" who has started, managed and sold three firms. As manager of Florida Growth Partners, Lester consults with small businesses and tries to help them grow. Lester says her business experience will help her bring ideas to help improve the local economy. This Plant City native has represented east Hillsborough on the commission since 2006. Former chairman of the Hillsborough Republican Party, Higginbotham has become a world traveler in his last term, taking the lead on luring the "Bollywood Oscars" to Tampa. He used to run a real estate brokerage in Orlando, which he sold in 1991 before moving back to Plant City. A former sales manager for Bill Currie Ford, Kruse has run and lost twice before for commission, in 2006 and 2008. Kruse is a Tampa native and lifelong resident who wants to focus on creating new jobs in construction and nanotechnology, and "ending the gridlock of Hillsborough County's traffic nightmares." Before founding his business consulting firm, Schock was a transportation technology executive who worked on projects like reversible tolling lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, experience he touts as he makes his first run for public office. This year, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Schock to serve on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
Education Bachelor's degree in English and political science from Appalachian State University, master's degree in English and rhetorical research from University of North Carolina at Charlotte Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Florida with a concentration in South American politics High school diploma Bachelor's degree in international studies from Emory University, master's of business administration from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
Do you support a tax package for a new transit system? Why? Yes, if it's needed. The county's transportation must address the current needs of our community and provide for growth. We need an integrated system of transportation — best practices in business terms. No one size will fit all, because we are a diverse county. In 2010, I opposed the referendum for transportation because I felt it lacked the necessary details to succeed. I am confident we are on the right course with the formation of the Transportation Leadership Policy Group to a community-based decision which I will support. If our current transportation system was a horse we'd have to shoot it. A 1-cent ... sales tax increase should not be looked at as a tax on the people of Hillsborough County, but as an investment into the people of Hillsborough County. More taxes will not solve (transportation) issues. I will actively work to develop a comprehensive transportation plan that provides efficient and effective methods to move people throughout our county and region.
How would you vote on a proposed expansion of the human rights ordinance? I am all for it. One's sexual orientation has nothing to do with one's ability or inability to do a job at hand. I think the ordinance is outdated and detrimental to the economic development and growth of Hillsborough County. I am in favor of the measure and plan to support it. I've been discriminated against personally due to my disability. I have no use for it (discrimination) personally and in society. I would approve and give my full support to help this pass. We are all equal, and to not pass this would not only be wrong, it would be unconstitutional. It's just sad that it's taking this long.



Discrimination, in any form, is unacceptable. Ensuring equal protection under the law is a fundamental right, and there is no room for discrimination in our county. That being said, without knowing specific language of a proposed ordinance, I can not provide a yes or no answer.
Assets House, car, jewelry Three houses, car Three houses, beauty school, two condominiums House, stocks, investments, bank accounts
Liabilities Two mortgages, two business credit lines Mortgage Mortgages Business credit line, car loan
Income Salary Commissioner salary, rental income Beauty school income, rental property Consulting income
Personal Married with four stepchildren Married with two adult children Married with three adult children Married with two children


About the job: The winner will face a Democrat in November to represent District 7, an at-large, countywide seat. Commissioners approve a nearly $4 billion budget, direct policy for the county and earn $95,523 annually. The District 7 representative will serve a four-year term.

Hillsborough County Commission, District 7 (Republican) 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:54pm]
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