Sara Romeo says she's ready to bring her years of community service to Tampa as she runs for a City Council seat

Romeo has also been a big advocate for the arts and artists, having formerly owned galleries in both Channelside and in Ybor City.  She believes there is a place where government can be involved in art, because she says it's a "huge economic engine," adding "there are many, many cities where it drives the local economy...I  think we need to support them (artists) because when they’re selling – that’ s business, they’re getting a pay check, they’re putting money back into the economy, so I think we need to look at how we can incorporate art into a good economic development plan for our community."

Another issue that Romeo is talking up is how she believes that inner city development has been neglected for decades in Florida, as urban sprawl has had its way in Hillsborough County.  It's an issue she raised when she ran for the Legislature, and she says it's just as relevant a decade later.  She said of the urban core that "it's  where the buses are. It‘s where the services are, it’s where the people should be, and I’ve always been a proponent of redeveloping those inner cities sections," she says, and mentions the great hopes that people in Tampa have regarding the Encore project off of Nebraska Avenue.

Romeo is running in District One, where the other declared candidates so far are Guido Maniscalco and Curtis Stokes.

Unlike all the other new candidates running for Tampa's City Council next March, Sara Romeo has actually served as a Legislator previously.

It was just one stint in the Florida House, representing District 60 from 2000-2002.  Since then she's served as the executive director for Tampa's Crossroads, which works with people with chemical dependency and mental health issues.

When asked about the recent controversy du jour in Tampa regarding pandhandlers, she said she doesn't think it's good for people to be out on the road asking for money, labeling it a "sad issue" that the city and county need to deal with.  She said she'd consider it punitive to simply ban people from doing so when it might be the only source for some people to survive, but said that the larger issue is that there isn't enough transitional, nor affordable housing in Hillsborough county.

"We see people all day long were double income families that could afford maybe $700, $800 a month for rent plus all the other maybe they’ve lost 1 income, maybe 2 and are living on unemployment and that affordable housing is really drying up and disappearing quickly," she says.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.