Harrison hopes to retake District 63 seat
TAMPA - Former Tampa City Council and state House member Shawn Harrison has filed for a rematch against state Rep. Mark Danish for the seat representing House District 63. Harrison, 48, a Republican, completed one term in the state House in 2012 but lost his bid for re-election, falling short by 728 votes out of more than 66,000. Danish, 59, a Democrat, already filed to run for re-election. The district covers much of New Tampa, the University of South Florida area, Carrollwood and Lutz.Harrison, a graduate of USF and the University of Florida law school, is president of a Tampa-based law and government relations firm, Shawn Harrison and Associates. He and his wife, Susan, also operate a company that evaluates patients’ financial status for nursing homes, he said. Before running for the House, Harrison served from 1999 to 2007 on the Tampa City Council as the first member elected from New Tampa after it became part of the city. He and his wife have two children. Harrison said he thinks he can reverse his 2012 loss. He ran better in that election than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who lost by 7 percentage points among District 63 voters. A different, more conservative electorate is likely to show up at the polls in a non-presidential year, he said. He said there is a need for “job creators” in Tallahassee. “I know what it takes to start a business from scratch.” Danish is a seventh-grade science teacher at Benito Middle School in Tampa. He is active in the state teachers union and is taking unpaid leave from his teaching job during the legislative session. He and his wife, Linda, have three grown children. In the House, he serves on committees on education, economic affairs, agriculture and government operations. He has introduced legislation on summer school funding; access by the disabled at gas stations; state handling of chemicals that pose a threat to children and pregnant women; and a “Homeowners Bill of Rights” intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Danish has said one of his goals was to pass legislation that improves the lives of his constituents.