TAMPA — City Council Chairman Tom Scott on Monday announced plans to run for mayor in 2011.
"My record and my leadership reflect my passion and commitment that are vital to the city and this community," Scott told a roomful of supporters and family members at the Chester Ferguson Law Center. "Let's begin this journey."
Scott, pastor of the 34th Street Church of God for 29 years, served as a Hillsborough County commissioner from 1996 to 2006. He was elected to the City Council in 2007, and was selected to fill the role as chairman two years in a row.
Scott's first remarks as an official mayoral candidate focused on the economy and the importance of bringing new businesses to the city to increase commercial tax revenue and reduce the reliance on residential property taxes to feed the city budget.
He also talked about creating green jobs in Tampa, expanding affordable housing options, and improving mass transit.
Among those at Scott's side on Monday: land use consultant Mike Horner, real estate investor Andy Scaglione and insurance agent Ken Anthony.
"He's our champion. He's going to need all our help," Anthony told the crowd as he encouraged them to leave their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. "We'll be contacting you early and often."
Tampa voters won't go to the polls to elect a new mayor and City Council until March 2011.
Scott said he wanted to announce early to get a head start with fundraising in the tough economy.
"It's going to be a real challenge to raise money," he said.
Other names tossed around as potential candidates include City Council member Linda Saul-Sena, Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, former City Council member Bob Buckhorn, and former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik.
"I'm in intrigued by it, and I would like to do it," said Turanchik, who was a cheerleader for light rail in Hillsborough in the 1990s. "But I haven't decided."
A proposal for light rail has only recently gained traction in the region.
"That would be a real exciting thing. I would really like to be able to build a city around transit," he said. "There are some people running who don't even make that a priority."
Marion Lewis, a former Tampa police captain who was forced to resign when he ran against Mayor Pam Iorio in 2007, has already filed to run again for the post.
Janet Zink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3401.