Mitch Perry Report 4.4.13 - Mrs. Castor goes to Cuba

A year and a half after she initially said she intended to visit, Tampa-area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor is in Cuba today (as reported by Ted Jackovics in the Tampa Tribune) for a trip that will last through the weekend.

Although Castor had not told the media in advance exactly when she was traveling, she laid the groundwork with a speech that she gave before a conference held in Tampa two weeks ago on rapprochement (and exclusively reported by CL) with the Communist island.

Castor's predecessor, former Congressman Jim Davis, traveled to Cuba in 2004, with very little fanfare. The fact of the matter is that it's not that big of a deal for a local official to travel there anymore (it hasn't for a long time for non-Florida politicos, as group of U.S. Senators just recently met with Cuban officials). But in Tampa, it used to be a hot, third-rail topic. Former Mayor Dick Greco got in some hot water when he went there in 2002, but that was in part because of the stealthiest of his trip.

Now what does this mean in terms of the overall U.S.- Cuba relationship? Hard to say, since only one man (Barack Obama) can truly change the 50-year plus economic embargo.

Despite a lot of kvetching, Hillsborough Commissioners did unanimously approve a new task force will examine how to address violence in the county.

If you're a regular viewer of MSNBC's Morning Joe, often you'll get lots of talk of the hosts and their guests sitting around table bemoaning the awful fate of our debt and deficit. Yesterday in Tampa, invited members of the Tampa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce got to hear such a discussion live, as the national Fix the Debt group - led locally by Mel Martinez and Jim Davis, regaled such a crowd over scrambled eggs at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.

And Hillsborough County's first ever Hackathon is scheduled to take place next weekend out in Brandon. Read all about that here.

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