Stretching out the suspense, Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda announced on Tuesday that he will run for re-election for his district 6 seat that encompasses West Tampa, Seminole Heights, Wellsworth and Drew Park. Miranda had announced weeks ago that he would run again for office, but provocatively said that he wasn't sure which district he would run in.
But his only declared opponent in the district 6 race, Kelly Benjamin, has been preparing for Miranda to declare that he would run for re-election. In a statement, he said, "while he has been keeping constituents guessing whether he would jump in and buy his way on the ballot, I have been going door to door in this community for 5 months, connecting with residents, and listening to an overwhelming number of people tell me they are ready for a change."
Miranda doesn't go as far back in Tampa politics as mayoral candidate Dick Greco, but close. He was first elected to the council in 1974, and has served over 15 years on that body. In 2003, he finished fourth in the race for mayor, trailing Pam Iorio, Frank Sanchez and Bob Buckhorn.
Among the various issues that he's become well versed in over the years is water. Nearly a year ago, CL published a cover story on Miranda's focus at the time on what is known as IPR (indirect potable reuse). The councilman was a proponent of IPR, and ultimately helped hold a couple of public forums on the controversial topic (IPR would treat the city's wastewater into ultimately producing into a potable resource)which is used in other parts of the country and the world.
At one point Miranda spoke about placing the IPR on the March 2011 ballot, but discussion about the issue died earlier this year and was never revived.
There will certainly be a generational divide between Miranda and Benjamin. The incumbent is 70, the challenger, 35.