Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Les Miller challenges incumbent Kevin White for District 3 of the Hillsborough County Commission

TAMPA — Incumbent Kevin White will have a fight on his hands in 2010 if he wants to retain his Hillsborough County Commission seat.

Former state Sen. Les Miller has filed paperwork to challenge White in the Democratic primary election, saying Hillsborough County needs "effective and honorable leadership they can trust."

White, 44, is the District 3 commissioner representing mostly central and eastern Tampa. Both he and Miller are Democrats.

Miller, 57, director of community affairs at the University of South Florida's office of student ombudsman, served 14 years in the state Legislature, including two years as Democratic leader in the Senate. His entry into the race instantly makes it a high-profile local contest, and White signaled he won't hesitate to take the gloves off to retain his post.

He likened Miller's decision to seek office while working at USF to former state House Speaker Ray Sansom's taking a job at Northwest Florida State College. Sansom was forced to resign as state House speaker after revelations he took the unadvertised college job after steering millions in tax dollars to the school.

White also questioned why Miller would not run for the at-large Commission seat Republican Jim Norman will depart in 2010.

"It's amazing to see someone who has been a state representative and senator doesn't have enough confidence in himself to run in an open countywide race," White said.

Miller said his situation is not analogous to that of Sansom because he is holding the USF job before he seeks office. He said he will take leave time when he is campaigning, and has cleared that with superiors.

USF spokeswoman Lara Wade confirmed that Miller has spoken to the school's general counsel to ensure he follows all relevant policies and guidelines.

Miller said he is running for District 3, which has a heavy concentration of minority voters, because he knows and wants to work on the issues that affect its residents.

"I'm not going to get into a wallowing-in-the-mud campaign," Miller said. "I think this district needs to have someone run who knows about the concerns of this district, and will work hard on those concerns."

Those include affordable housing, health care, economic development and ensuring that the county is on solid financial ground, he said.

Miller ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House seat won by Democrat Kathy Castor two years ago after leaving the state Senate. He is married to Tampa City Council member Gwen Miller.

He and White have clashed before.

As a commissioner serving on the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, White has questioned Tampa General Hospital's success in ensuring minority-owned firms receive a fair share of contracts from the hospital. Miller was in charge of that program for the hospital before leaving for USF.

White has his own vulnerabilities. A former Tampa City Council member, he was forced to pay a fine after charging new Italian suits to a political campaign account. And he is currently facing a sexual discrimination complaint from a former aide.

Bill Varian can be reached at varian@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3387.

Les Miller challenges incumbent Kevin White for District 3 of the Hillsborough County Commission 02/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Cal Foote said he was so young when his father, Adam, played in the NHL, he didn't remember their hug in the Avalanche's dressing room during the 2001 Stanley Cup celebration.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.