Thursday, November 29, 2012

April Griffin says she's running for Hillsborough County Commission

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

AprilGriffin.jpg
Last week, April Griffin was elected chairwoman of the Hillsborough County School Board, a job she said will help beef up her credentials when she becomes a candidate for the Democratic nomination for County Commission in 2014.

Griffin said she'll wait until the first part of 2013 before making it official, figuring that with the holidays and the just completed general election, the public isn't quite ready to hear somebody talking about 2014.

Probably so, but that doesn't mean political reporters aren't willing to write about it.

Griffin has been elected twice to her countywide District 6 seat, initially in 2006 and then again in 2010.

Speaking with CL Monday afternoon, Griffin said she spent her entire six years on the board making sure that she represents the interests of the entire community, including working with people in Eastern Hillsborough on agricultural issues, and with manufacturers regarding some of the courses Hillsborough schools offer.

She said she worked on creating career pathways for students to get industry certifications, helping those not interested in pursuing higher education get work after graduation.

A proud Democrat, she calls herself a fiscal conservative, boasting about the $200 million that she and her colleagues on the Board have cut from the budget in recent years, saying they achieved that without having to terminate any employees.

She also said she'd like to "streamline" bureaucracy at the County Center.

"From my understanding of it, there's a lot of different committees that exist and a lot of different processes that things have to go through," she said. "When I ask, 'Well, why is it that way?' I'm told, 'I don't know.' And I'm not one who is going to accept [something] because we've always done it that way, I want to look at why it's that way."

Griffin believes the past six years on the school board have prepared her for working at the county commission level.

Of course there's a lot of work to be done at the school board, which she now chairs. The district is currently under fire over the tragic death of Jennifer Caballero, an 11-year-old with Down's syndrome who walked away from a school gym and drowned in a campus pond in October. They're also being sued over the death of 7-year-old Isbella Herrera, who choked while riding home on the bus and later died at the hospital. ABC 28 reported that Herrera, who suffered from a neuromuscular disorder, was not correctly harnessed in her wheelchair.

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