The Tampa Tribune: “Statewide group fetes Turanchik as best official”

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Excerpt from The Tampa Tribune, March 21, 1996

TAMPA — Of all the local elected officials in Florida, a statewide growth management group believes Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik stands out in the crowd.

The organization, 1000 Friends of Florida, chose Turanchik for its 1996 Public Servant Award. It is the first time that any Hillsborough official has earned the accolade.

At a reception Wednesday at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, Turanchik was to be honored for his efforts to improve public transportation, promote greenways and resolve Tampa Bay’s conflicts over groundwater pumping.

“At least from our eyes in Tallahassee, he’s trying to bring an environmental ethic to resolving those problems in a responsible way,” said Kent Wimmer of 1000 Friends.

“For all those reasons, we thought he displayed outstanding leadership.”

The group promotes what Wimmer called logical growth by encouraging people across the state to get involved in local comprehensive plans and offering professional planning and legal assistance.

Turanchik said the award “came out of the blue.”

“I ran on a growth management platform and to be recognized by the premier growth watch-dog organization of the state is very special,” he said. “The hardest people to prove yourself to are your peers.”

Since 1990, Turanchik has represented several communities in Tampa and the county, including Town ‘N Country, Egypt Lake and the Tampa peninsula. He also is Hillsborough’s representative on the board of directors of the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority and serves as its chairman. West Coast is the agency that provides drinking water to 1.8 million Tampa Bay residents.

Turanchik, a Democrat, will be running for re-election later this year. So far, two Republicans are vying for the chance to unseat him.

He also handles management labor law cases with the Tampa law firm of Zinober & McCrea.