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CEO of company at center of Tampa cell tower disputes to run for state House

TAMPA — Stacy Frank, an attorney and small-business owner, said Tuesday that she's running for state representative in District 57.

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Frank, a Democrat, wants to replace Republican Faye Culp, who is facing a term limit.

Her father, Richard Frank, is the retired chief judge of the Second District Court of Appeal.

Her mother, Pat Frank, a former state senator and Hillsborough County commissioner, is the county clerk of the circuit court.

District 57 comprises South Tampa, Town 'N Country and Westchase.

The economy is the No. 1 issue facing the state, Frank said.

"What I'm seeing in Tallahassee is a very short-term, special interest-controlled response to that and I'm obviously referring to [offshore oil] drilling," she said. "I don't think that's the answer."

Tourism, she said, is the state's primary resource, and drilling threatens that. Moving forward with drilling off Florida's coast is a speculative venture anyway, Frank believes.

"All this attention and focus is being placed on that and not finding what really should be an answer to our problems," she said.

Frank said the state needs to do more to promote solar energy instead.

"It's a clean way to not only provide an energy alternative, but also provide jobs," she said.

Frank's announcement came with a long list of endorsements, including U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt, Tampa City Council members Thomas Scott, Linda Saul-Sena, Gwen Miller, and Charlie Miranda, and former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman.

But she can expect resistance from a vocal group of people who have been fighting cell phone towers at Hillsborough County schools, saying they may pose health hazards to children.

Frank, 55, is chief executive of Collier Enterprises, which holds a contract with the school district to lease land for the towers.

"I will be doing everything I can to make sure she doesn't get elected," said Carrie Grimail, a cell phone tower opponent. "She's not going to represent us, the people. She's going to be representing her telecommunications buddies."

So far, Clifford Somers is the only other Democrat in the race. The Republican contenders are Todd Marks, A.J. Matthews, Dan Molloy and Dana Young.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

CEO of company at center of Tampa cell tower disputes to run for state House 11/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 11:57pm]
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