TFS Endorsements – Alachua and Hillsborough Local Races

Plum Creek has been the pivotal force in Alachua County this election cycle.  As one of the largest land owners in the United States, the company has incredible political power and sway and has set their sights on Alachua County’s Comprehensive  plan.  It has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign in order to change the county’s  plan in order allow development on a large tract of land it owns on the east side of the county.  The kicker is that Plum Creek doesn’t want to develop the land – they merely want to sell the land and hope to increase the price tag.  Hawthorne is the failed state of Alachua county and the promise of development and jobs has gathered a wide range of support, despite the fact that there are no concrete plans of building anything.  As is very common in Florida, the land at the center of the controversy is a swamp, low and wet, and ill-suited for development, which is why it was preserved in the first place.  As pointed out by numerous scientists and ecologists in editorials, public presentations, and public forums, it is an important part of the conservation plan of the county and a vital part of the recharge system for the aquifer.

Many of the decisions to change the plan will come down to the County Commission, so the two seats up this cycle are at the center of the debate. Harvey Ward and Ken Cornell have come out strongly against Plum Creek and that is the strongest reason for their endorsement.    Having the courage to stand up against Plum Creek has cost them donations and support, yet the respect that they have garnered through this process has proven them worthy to serve.   Both have shown a wide-range of endorsements from a slew of progressives causes that show that these men are really ready to lead Alachua forward.

The Florida Squeeze endorses Ken Cornell and Harvey Ward for Alachua County Commission.

For Alachua County School board, the teachers have been clear that they want Gunnar Paulson back and Rob Hyatt added to the board.  Both are strong supporters of public schools and aware of the increasing threat of privatization of our public school system.  Paulson has been a strong voice on the local school board for years and Hyatt is a teacher himself, so my children are in good hands with these men.

The Florida Squeeze endorses Gunnar Paulson and Rob Hyatt for School Board for Alachua County.


County Commission

District 7 – Pat Kemp

We like Mark Nash a great deal as well, but Pat Kemp stands out as a strong progressive voice through her years of service to the causes we support at this website. Either Nash or Kemp will be far preferable to Al Higginbotham who we assume will be nominated by the Republicans. The withdrawal of Mary Mulhern  set Democrats back and while Nash or Kemp would be a good nominee, we believe Kemp would be a better Commissioner. Kemp’s environmental work through the years and advocacy on progressive issues has been among the best in the Tampa Bay Area. This week, Kemp’s “record” as DEC Chair became an issue in the campaign. This is extraneous to serving on the Commission and quite frankly Democrats across the county compiled similarly bad records in 2010. Should they all be disqualified from being nominated for office as well? This sounds more like typical Democratic Party infighting than a legitimate criticism of the public record of someone looking to serve the community in elected office. Both the major local newspapers, The Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Tribune have endorsed Kemp in the race. We like Nash a great deal and hope he runs again in the near future but we prefer Kemp who will be a much needed progressive voice on the Commission.

School Board

District 2 – Mike Weston

Will be a much needed voice of reason on the School Board.

District  6-  April Griffin 

A  constant thorn in the side of School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, Griffin will provide a fresh perspective on the School Board.

Our full list of August 26th endorsements are here.


  1. You nailed it for Hillsborough! Thank you!!


  2. The local progressive paper in Tampa, LaGaceta

    makes the following endorsements for Hillsborough county::

    State Representative District 61 — Sean Shaw
    County Commission District 4 — Janet Dougherty
    County Commission District 7 (Dem Primary) — Mark Nash
    County Commission District 7 (Rep Primary) — Al Higginbotham
    Circuit Judge Group 8 — John Dingfelder
    Circuit Judge Group 19 — Michael Scionti
    Circuit Judge Group 20 — Laura Ward
    Circuit Judge Group 34 — Robert Bauman
    County Court Judge Group 12 — Chris Nash
    School Board District 2 — Michelle Shimberg
    School Board District 4 — Dee Prether & Melissa Snively
    School Board District 6 — April Griffin
    District Court of Appeal — Retain all three judges


  3. Kim, LaGaceta isn’t progressive.


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