Trey Rustmann on his candidacy for Hillsborough County Commission, and why he filed a complaint against GOP foe Sandy Murman

Rustmann was born and raised in Oklahoma, but got to know the Tampa Bay area as a kid, when his parents split up and his dad moved to Florida.  Rustmann said he's running to make Hillsborough a better community for those who live and work here.

He says that his key messages are accountability, fiscal responsibility and economic development.  Jobs are #1 on his mind.  When asked about the criticism that in the past the county commission has been too accommodating to developers, Rustmann said he wasn't certain that that was a problem, but emphasized that there needs to be an emphasis on building infrastructure that would attract businesses.

And that means he supports the penny sales tax for transportation that will be on the ballot this November in Hillsborough.  "I know it's unpopular in my party," he says, which is one reason why incumbent Mark Sharpe is now encountering a primary challenge for his seat.  "But after studying case studies of Charlotte, Phoenix, Dallas and Salt Lake City, I've rode on light rail in Salt Lake, and I've seen what it does from an economic development standpoint....we are behind right now compared to our peer group, so I think it's number one important for Hillsborough County voters to vote on this....and I think it's an important decision for our community."

If Rustmann is successful against the better known Murman, he'd be facing John Dingfelder, who suffered an embarrassment last week when he admitted to filing paperwork declaring his intention to leave the Tampa City Council later than the required ten days, forcing him to immediately quit the council.

Rustmann said "attention to detail is important.  It appears that like Sandy Murman, there was an egregious oversight on his part."  Rustmann said he was surprised to learn of the development, considering Dingfelder's experience as a lawyer and a lawmaker, and said if he remains on the November ballot (which Rustmann says he considers likely) it's something that voters will have to decide as to how relevant the snafu is.

Last week Republican Trey Rustmann, running for a Hillsborough County Commission seat in District One, filed an ethics complaint against his GOP challenger, former state House Representative Sandy Murman.  Rustmann says Murman began soliciting campaign donations before she filed her paperwork to qualify to run for office two weeks ago.

State law requires candidates to file their paperwork prior to establishing campaign accounts or receiving or distributing funds on behalf of their candidacy.  In a press release issued last week,  Rustman said that Murman submitted her paperwork to file for the election at 11:35 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, and then returned back to the supervisor of elections office nine minutes later with a check from her campaign account to qualify for the race.  He filed his complaint with both the state ethics commission and the Florida Elections Commission.

"We felt like it was the right thing to do," Rustmann told CL Saturday morning, where he stood with supporters waving signs at the corner of Bayshore and Bay to Bay Boulevards in South Tampa.   "Evidence suggests that she violated state elections laws, and we want to make sure we bring it to people's attention."

Unlike Murman, or the probable Democratic candidate, now former Tampa City Councilman John Dingfelder, Rustmann has never ran for public office before.  He currently works at Kforce, the job placement agency.  Before that, he was in the U.S. Marines, where he originally served in the 1990's, including being involved in the Bosnian conflict.  After active duty, he went into the reserves.  But after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he volunteered to serve again, and served as part of the C Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion that invaded Iraq.


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