MEET ED TURANCHIK
d moved to Tampa from Ohio in 1987 to join the law firm of Carlton Fields after completing a federal judicial clerkship. He has a law degree from Ohio State University, a Master of Science degree in zoology from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Ed married Jenny Pierson, a Tampa native, in 1992. Their children, Laura Jean and John, attended Christ the King School and Plant High School. Laura graduated from the University of Florida and works for a national museum design firm in New York City. John graduated from Duke University and is now a first year Duke Law student.
After Ed moved to Tampa, he helped found the successful law firm, Zinober and Burr. By night, Ed pursued his passion: protecting the environment. He quickly became a top environmental leader with the Tampa Bay Group of the Sierra Club, where his leadership helped preserve tens of thousands of acres of ecological lands in Hillsborough County, curtail suburban sprawl, and stopped the construction of a new power plant at Cockroach Bay.
Ed’s environmental activism led to his decision to run for the County Commission in 1990, beating a well-known incumbent through a robust, grassroots campaign. Ed hit the ground running; he proposed building the Lightning arena in downtown Tampa instead of on Dale Mabry. He understood that a state-of-the-art arena could anchor the revitalization of a struggling downtown Tampa. As the Tampa Tribune reported, he “guided the $160 million project through the twists and turns of political fortune to reality.” Ed’s vision was right, and today it is the foundation for Jeff Vinik’s Water Street project.
Ed also introduced the first regional rail plans in 1991, pushing for the development of a low cost community rail option using CSX freight tracks. He secured the adoption of the first rail transit plans in 1996, then led a successful demonstration rail project in 1997 to showcase how to best move forward using CSX tracks. Unfortunately, local leaders failed to pursue this logical option. As Tampa Bay Times columnist Dan Ruth noted, “It is not for want of trying on the part of some more forward-thinking folks around here. Former county commissioner Ed Turanchik sounded a clarion call to improve the region’s transit needs more than 20 years ago. But nothing happened.”
Ed’s visionary leadership also ended over fifty years of water wars that were destroying lakes, wetlands, and imperiling our economic future. He co-founded and was the first chairman of Tampa Bay water, which remains a model for regional water supply in our nation. Florida’s governor at the time, Lawton Chiles, wrote to Ed and congratulated him on this work, stating: “You have done a terrific job on one of the toughest water issues ever to face this state.”
During his years on the County Commission, Ed championed growth management initiatives and introduced community-based planning, led criminal justice reforms that saved taxpayers millions of dollars, helped pass the County’s Health Care program, and supported one of Florida’s first local laws that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Ed supported the Community Investment Tax which funded badly-needed schools, roadways, parks, and public safety investments. He also developed novel solutions to address chronic flooding in Town ‘N Country.
Ed’s leadership and work as a county commissioner earned him recognition as the Public Servant of the Year by 1000 Friends of Florida, the first time any Hillsborough official earned the accolade. He was also recognized as Florida Audubon’s Local Elected Leader of the Year and received the first National Leadership Award by the National Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
CIVIC AND BUSINESS LEADERSHIP
Ed left the County Commission to lead the regional Olympic bid effort, creating a sweeping vision for a whole new Tampa built around a state-of-the-art transportation system. The effort also preserved the high speed rail corridor between Tampa and Orlando.
He co-founded the Civitas development company, laying the foundation for the Central Park, Heights, and West River development plans.
Ed also started InTown Homes, bringing the first new investment into Old West Tampa in nearly 50 years. He built over $11 million in affordable homes in the heart of Old West Tampa, working closely with residents to fashion historically accurate, energy efficient homes. The project, which won the Planning Commission’s Outstanding Award for Urban Redevelopment in 2007, ended with the last recession, but it is now the foundation for a new West Tampa renaissance.
In perhaps his greatest display of leadership, Ed rallied business, labor, and environmental groups throughout Florida in 2009, creating a statewide advocacy organization known as Connect Us, helping Florida secure $2.4 billion in federal funds to build the nation’s first high speed trains to run between Tampa and Orlando.
Since 2011, Ed has been in the Public Policy practice group at Akerman LLP, one of Florida’s largest law firms. He developed and introduced the plan for passenger ferry service in Tampa Bay, including the successful Cross Bay Ferry pilot project. Ed’s work on behalf of private clients has also included revitalizing Hyde Park Village, championing competitive bids for the County’s waste collection services, and protecting wetland setback areas.
COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY
Ed’s record on human rights and equality speaks for itself. He was among the commission majority that voted for a 1/2 cent sales tax to fund the Hillsborough County Indigent Health Care Plan that provides health care coverage to low income residents. Today, eligible residents use a healthcare network instead of costly emergency rooms for medical treatment.
As Chairperson of the Hillsborough County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in the 1990’s, Ed championed alternatives to incarceration and drug treatment programs in lieu of building larger and more expensive jails.
Ed also joined with former County Commissioner Sylvia Kimbell Rodriguez in removing the Confederate battle flag from the County seal. And Ed supported a county-wide gay rights ordinance in Florida in 1991, only the second such ordinance in Florida at the time.
Ed championed the construction of thousands of new affordable homes and the creation of a dedicated trust fund for affordable housing through the Civitas initiative in the early 2000’s.
The proposed trust fund would be generating over $10 million annually today to help provide subsidized rents and construct new affordable housing in the City of Tampa.
Ed created InTown Homes and built over $10 million of affordable in-fill homes in Old West Tampa, without displacing any residents. Ed’s project won the Planning Commission’s Most Outstanding Urban InFill initiative in 2007.
Ed’s private companies also helped minority-owned businesses get started. He knows people need a chance to succeed, and sometimes they need a “hand up” to get going.
EXEMPLARY, HONEST, AND PRACTICAL LEADERSHIP
Ed’s wide-ranging efforts have been fruitful. Many today wish that his vision had been embraced by political and community leaders. Had they done so, regional commuter trains would have been running for the past 20 years, high speed trains would be carrying passengers to Orlando, our transit system would be robust, and our center city neighborhoods would be much further along.
Today, Ed is committed to the fulfillment of the vision he has long championed. Ed is running for Mayor so we can create a 21st century city with a robust urban transit system, thriving business districts, re-energized traditional neighborhoods, affordable housing, and an economic and civic environment that supports innovation and investment that lifts us all up. He understands and embraces the many new opportunities and pathways to realizing this vision, options offered by exciting new and emerging technologies and innovations that are driving our economy. Ed wants Tampa to lead the way in seizing on these opportunities, and become one of the leading innovative communities in America.
Through Ed’s many efforts, he has earned a well-deserved reputation for honesty, ethics, intelligence, fiscal prudence, and commitment to excellence. He has an uncommon capacity to work with people from all walks of life and ideological persuasions to find a common ground. His leadership on transportation, the environment, growth management, urban development, and water resources has already made Tampa and Hillsborough County a better community.
Ed is ready to get to work for all of us and help realize our full potential.