Hillsborough County Commissioner Kim Overman has been knocking at the door of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians list since her election in 2018. Four years later, she’s through the door and sitting at the table among the Bay Area’s mightiest.
And Overman has certainly earned it, racking up a series of victories and ascending to lead numerous boards in the county.
Overman’s long-awaited entry to the list was spurred by Pat Kemp‘s passing of the gavel to Overman in November, when she became chair of the Board of County Commissioners. The Seminole Heights resident served as vice chair under Kemp.
“Kimberly Overman has taken the helm as chair of the Hillsborough County Commission at a critical moment for the community,” the Vinik Family Office’s Christina Barker said. “As we begin to recover from the depths of the pandemic and face serious conversations about rising housing costs, a lack of public transit and critical infrastructure needs, Overman’s prepared and no-nonsense approach will serve both her colleagues and residents well.”
In addition to her duties as Commission chair, Overman also chairs the Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Transportation Management Area Leadership Group, and Commission on Human Trafficking. She serves as a member of the Department of Defense – Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce MacDill Air Force Base Support Committee; Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority; Public Safety Coordinating Council; Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation; Transportation Planning Organization; and Tourist Development Council.
Overman’s 2018 election helped win a Democratic majority on the board for the first time in 14 years. Not long after joining the board, Overman was one of the commissioners to advocate and vote for the return of the Cross-Bay ferry. As chair, Overman will set the board’s agenda, which will continue some of the progressive measures her predecessor prioritized. She’s advocated for racial and social justice, getting the Commission to study racial inequity in the county. In addressing affordable housing, she pushed for a Tenant’s Bill of Rights and mandated that all landlords must accept government vouchers as proof of income.
The measure passed 5-1 and inspired Tampa to follow suit. However, the measure’s success was a little more convoluted there. Tampa passed it, then shut it down, but changed course again and passed its own.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was a fierce advocate for putting mitigation measures in place, including mask mandates.
“Kim Overman is a steady force on the Hillsborough County Commission and has quietly emerged as a leader known for her measured approach and willingness to work across the aisle to find a compromise,” Ron Pierce of RSA Consulting said. “She is thoughtful and will always listen to both sides of the story, and translates her respect for her constituents into actionable, solutions-driven change.”
Joe Henderson’s take: She is one of Hillsborough’s leading voices on the issues of business growth, affordable housing and transportation. As chair of the Hillsborough County Commission, her influence over these issues could shape the county for the next 25 years or more.
As for methodology, we define the Tampa Bay region as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota — if the politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillsborough.
We define a politician as being in office or running for office.
Being first on a panelist’s list earns the politician 25 points, second earns them 24 points and so on, to where being listed 25th earns a politician one point. Points are added and, voilà, we have a list.
Special thanks go to our experienced and knowledgeable panelists, who were essential to developing the 2022 list: Christina Barker of the Vinik Family Office, Ashley Bauman of Mercury, Ed Briggs of RSA Consulting, Ricky Butler of the Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office, Reggie Cardozo of The Public Square, Ronald Christaldi of Schumaker, Evan Donovan of WFLA, Joe Farrell of Pinellas Realtors, pollster Matt Florell of Vicidial Group, Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, political consultant Max Goodman, Mike Griffin of Savills, Joe Henderson, Todd Josko of Ballard Partners, Natalie King of RSA Consulting, Patrick Manteiga, publisher of LaGaceta, Seth McKeel of The Southern Group, Jennifer Motsinger, EVP of Tampa Bay Builders Association, Mitch Perry of Charter News, Ron Pierce of RSA Consulting, Preston Rudie of Catalyst Communications Group, and Alan Suskey of Shumaker Advisors. With Michelle and Peter Schorsch.