TAMPA — On paper, the field of six candidates to replace Lisa Montelione on the Tampa City Council is a well-rounded group where everyone has held a responsible job and worked in the community.
Two doctors, a retired Tampa police officer, a former teacher, a newspaper editor and a lawyer all qualified by the Sept. 9 deadline to run in a special election to succeed Montelione, who is leaving midterm to run for the Legislature in Florida House District 63.
Vying for the District 7 seat in the nonpartisan election are:
• Jim Davison, 61, an emergency room doctor who lives in New Tampa. He has been active in transportation issues, including co-founding and serving as the first chairman of the New Tampa Transportation Task Force and working to postpone Hillsborough County efforts to schedule a referendum on creating a sales tax for transportation projects. He has served on the county’s Indigent Health Care Advisory Board, Health Care Task Force and Emergency Medical Planning Council.
• Orlando Gudes, 49, who served as a Tampa police officer for 26 years before retiring. In 2005, after coaching with the Police Athletic League and middle and high schools, he founded the Unity Youth Football Conference, a football and cheerleading league focused on both athletic and academic performance for poor to middle-income youth. As the league’s executive director, he has seen the group work with more than 8,000 boys and girls.
• Avis Harrison, 52, a former first-grade teacher in Escambia County who has been a member of the New Tampa Junior Women’s Club and a board member for the Tampa chapter of the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependency. She is a home-school evaluator and a member of the parent-teacher association at Corbett Preparatory School.
• Gene Siudut, 43, an assistant editor at Ybor City’s La Gaceta newspaper since 1999 and a nationally syndicated columnist with Bleacher Report. He is vice chairman of the Hillsborough County Human Relations Board and president of the Lions Club of Ybor City, and is on the executive committee of the Ybor City Development Corp.
• Cyril Spiro, 46, a doctor who founded and sold an electronic medical records company and founded two software companies, one that provides charter schools with a lottery management and parent communication system, and one designed to enable local governments to hold online meetings that still comply with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law. He chairs the Cory Lakes Community Development District.
• Luis Viera, 38, a lawyer with the Tampa law firm of Ogden & Sullivan who has served on the city’s Civil Service Review Board since 2011 and whose community activities include serving on the boards of the Hillsborough Achievement Resource Center and New Horizons Group Home.
District 7 includes 20 precincts in northern Tampa and New Tampa. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Oct. 11. The election is Nov. 8. If no one gets a majority then, the top-two finishers will go to a runoff on Dec. 6.
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times.