TAMPA — Hillsborough commissioners picked Kimberly Overman as their new chairperson Thursday afternoon.
Overman’s nomination came from immediate past Chairperson Pat Kemp, who also nominated Commissioner Mariella Smith as vice chairperson.
Kemp said before the meeting she believed in rotating the chairperson’s duties. Overman, Smith and Kemp are all Democrats on a commission where their party holds a 5-2 advantage over Republicans.
“I have big shoes to fill,” Overman said.
The commission elected Smith was vice chairperson over Commissioner Gwen Myers on a 4-3 vote. Commissioner Stacy White nominated Myers, who was supported by Commissioner Ken Hagan and herself. Overman, Kemp, Cohen and Smith voted for Smith.
Overman has served as vice chairperson the past two years. She lives in Seminole Heights and joined the commission in 2018. She is running for reelection to her District 7 countywide seat in 2022.
She is a leading advocate on the commission for racial equity. Last year, she persuaded the rest of the board to commission a study of racial inequity in the county that is still ongoing. Earlier this week, she unsuccessfully sought to delay for 30 days a list of $35 million worth of road repairs until it could be passed through the Transportation Planning Organization’s filter for racial equity. The commission instead agreed to spend an additional $5 million for repairs in District 3, where nearly 40 percent of the residents are Black.
On behalf of the commission, Overman presented Kemp with a signed copy of the book They Dared to Dream: Florida Women Who Shaped History by Doris Weatherford; a children’s book and a stuffed seagull made from six recycled plastic bottles for Kemp to share with her granddaughter; and a gift certificate.
Kemp lauded the commission and county staff for its work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for, among other things, investing in converting septic tanks to sewer, affordable housing, the Cross-Bay ferry and other infrastructure improvements.
“It’s been an extraordinary year for all of us. I think one of the heaviest lifts this county has ever had,” Kemp said.