HCDEC Against Changes to Hillborough BOCC


Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee
Ione Townsend

July 21, 2020


TAMPA, FL, July 21 – Hillsborough County Democrats voted overwhelmingly in their General Meeting last night to strongly urge the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) NOT to undertake structural changes in their board meeting today.

“There is absolutely no rush to undertake major structural reforms to Hillsborough County government in a pandemic,” said Executive Committee Chairwoman Ione Townsend, adding, “With the nationwide Census this year and redistricting to follow in 2022, there is ample time to properly assess the right size of the Board of County Commissioners.”

The BoCC currently consists of three countywide seats and four single member district. The CRB is meeting today to consider three options: four countywide seats and five single member district seats; nine single member district seats only (in which case NO commissioners would serve countrywide); or leave the structure unchanged.

Townsend says that by far the most important consideration is that Hillsborough County maintain a number of countywide seats.

“Single member districts, by their nature, create fiefdoms,” Townsend explains. “They compete against each other for resources and power. Their representatives are, by design, hyper-focused on their local constituency, usually to the detriment of the county as a whole.” She adds that single member districts often allow for gerrymandering to ensure that only one party is really competitive in any given district, and thus ensure further deflation of voter enthusiasm that acts as a form of voter suppression.

“It is undeniable that a constituent’s voice is more influential if he or she can vote for four or five representatives, as opposed to just one. We must preserve the right of Hillsborough voters to cast their vote for a majority of the Board of County Commissioners – it’s the most equitable outcome and it encourages voter participation. It also means that if a constituent reaches out to his or her Commissioner and that Commissioner is unresponsive, there are several other countrywide Commissioners vying for that same constituent’s vote.”

The Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee is a local branch of the Florida Democratic Party. Its mission is to elect County Democrats and promote progressive values.

For more information, please contact Ione Townsend at 813-704-5131 or itownsendhcdec@gmail.com.