TAMPA -- Two Democrat Hillsborough commissioners who got swept out by last week's red wave said farewell at Wednesday's meeting, along with a Republican leaving because of term limits.
Democrat Kimberly Overman was targeted as a supporter of COVID restrictions and the transportation sales tax. She defended the commission's decisions on lockdowns, masking and other issues. received during its various emergencies and mandates, all of which were overturned by Governor DeSantis and/or the Legislature. "We had to make some really tough decisions on how to not only deal with something that we didn't know all the answers, but also ways that we could support and preserve all our families and businesses, and we were very successful in doing so."
Many voters disagreed. Overman was defeated by Republican Joshua Wostal, who takes office next week. Much of the final meeting of the old commission was a shower of praise and gifts for Overman, Mariella Smith and Republican Stacy White, a frequent opponent of the majority, who was forced out by term limits. One person who disagreed showed up for public comment following the farewells.
She started by thanking most of the commissioners and staffers, then thanked God the "time of one self-honoring is over... We are a republic, not a democracy, and that is why some of you were replaced. We the people will continue to replace those of you are out of touch with reality." She then addressed Overman by name, causing the outgoing commissioner to accuse her of violating the rules and calling a deputy to remove her. The woman shouted as she was escorted out, "Farewell, glad to see you go." It sounded a lot like the stream of criticism the board endured during the pandemic.
The commission will become majority Republican at its next meeting, with Wostal, Donna Cameron Cepeda and Mike Owen joining Ken Hagan.
Photo: Canva/ Hillsborough County