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Castor makes Congress run official

The Hillsborough County Commissioner announces she will vie for the District 11 seat held by Tampa's Jim Davis.

By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN, Times Staff Writer
Published April 4, 2005

TAMPA - As predicted, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor announced Monday she will run for the District 11 congressional seat being vacated by Tampa's Jim Davis.

Castor, 38, joins State Sen. Les Miller Jr. and lawyer Scott Farrell, both of whom recently declared their candidacies.

Castor is more than two years into a four-year term as a county commissioner. Her stint ends November 2006. If she won, she wouldn't start in Congress until a month later, in January 2007.

Castor will be campaigning while continuing to serve on the commission. But she stressed that her focus will remain on serving the residents of the county's District 1.

"I'm not abandoning (my County Commission constituents)," she said Monday. "I'm going to focus on doing my job as a commissioner."

The congressional district encompasses a large portion of Hillsborough County and slivers of Pinellas and Manatee counties. The Hillsborough portion includes most of the district that Castor currently serves in her commission seat.

"I'm just going to represent them in a different capacity," she said.

Castor, who is married to a lawyer and the mother of two children, said she is particularly proud of the work she has done at the county level on environmental protection and health care.

Castor is chairwoman of the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission. Her latest issue is with developers of a mall planned for Pasco County.

She has also fought to limit gifts to office holders and has called for lobbyist disclosure.

Castor, who worked as a private land-use and local government attorney from 1994 to 2000, is the daughter of Betty Castor, the former USF president, education commissioner and state senator who ran unsuccessfully against Mel Martinez for the U.S. Senate last year.

With name recognition, Kathy Castor is considered an early favorite, but she said she isn't taking the campaign lightly.

"They're all good people," she said. "But I'm going to work very hard at this. I'm not going to take anything for granted."

Other candidates who say they're on the verge of filing are Michael Steinberg, a lawyer specializing in Social Security, and Albert Fox, a Tampa native living in Washington who founded a group advocating better relations between America and Cuba. Ralph Fernandez, a Tampa lawyer who works with the anti-Castro Cuban-American National Foundation, also has his sights on the race.

[Last modified April 4, 2005, 19:59:50]

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