1. Gradebook

Hillsborough School Board 1: Cona defeats Person

The winner will serve out the remaining two years of Susan Valdes' term.
Hillsborough County School Board candidate Steve Cona. [Cona campaign]
Hillsborough County School Board candidate Steve Cona. [Cona campaign]
Published Nov. 7, 2018|Updated Nov. 7, 2018

Steve Cona III, a construction industry executive who promised to bring a business mind to the public school system, defeated Bill Person in Tuesday's contest to represent District 1 on the Hillsborough County School Board.

"I look forward to working with the superintendent to make sure we spend the money we need to spend correctly," 44-year-old Cona said after declaring, "I'm just really humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve the district."

Cona, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, will serve just two years, finishing the term that Susan Valdes left early to run for State House.

His opponent, Person, is a retired administrator and onetime principal who developed Hillsborough's school choice system at the end of court-ordered desegregation.

The Cona-Person match-up was the costliest of this year's School Board races. About $200,000 was raised, with construction industry organizations donating to Cona while Person received generous backing from labor unions.

"I'm fine, I really am," Person said after the results were in and he called to congratulate Cona. "I'm not upset at all. I gave it all I could do and I'm at peace with myself."

For national and statewide election results check out The Buzz

For local election results check out the Bay Buzz

For school board election results check out The Gradebook.

Contact Marlene Sokol at or (813) 226-3356. Follow @marlenesokol.


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