Photo: Christopher Smutko
Tampa, Fla. – February, 2018 – Candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, Christopher Smutko, has announced today that he has suspended his campaign to support fellow Democrat, Heather Kenyon Stahl. Smutko made his decision after meeting with Stahl, citing her qualifications and contributions to the Tampa Bay community.
“The needs of the hard-working families in our district and the state should always come before personal ambitions,” said Smutko. “C.S. Lewis once noted that, ‘True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.’ It is in that spirit that I have decided to end my campaign and support Heather Stahl to represent District 64 in the Florida House of Representatives. Ms. Stahl has an extensive record of success in driving growth and innovation in the Tampa Bay area and I believe she is the best person for the job.”
Smutko, a special-needs educator who teaches social studies at Tampa’s Morning Star Catholic School, entered the race in response to Jamie Grant’s unopposed bid for the District 64 seat in the 2016 election. Aside from write-in candidates, Representative Grant has not faced a Democratic opponent since 2010.
“No one should be able to walk right into office with a free pass,” Smutko said, “and I felt a duty to carry the banner of opposition, so to speak, for the sake of the community. I’m proud to have carried the banner this far, but it is absolutely clear to me that Heather Stahl is the woman who must carry it the rest of the way”
Stahl, like Smutko, has a deep commitment to the community. As the former CEO of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, she has been a leader in the effort to develop the innovation economy in the region.
“If elected I will work tirelessly to repair the damage Republicans have done in Tallahassee by short-changing public school teachers, slashing available health care for our citizens, and ignoring the area’s significant transportation issues. The issues we have in these areas are part of the reasons we have not had more success luring and growing innovation-related companies in the area.”
Stahl has also vowed to work indefatigably to end gun violence in the state, in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“No parent should have to live with the fear that when they send their children to school it could be the last time they see them alive,” Stahl said. “Here we have another school shooting, and the leadership in both chambers aren’t willing to act to keep it from happening again. This isn’t about taking away people’s constitutional rights. This is about common sense measures like background checks and raising the age of those that can purchase AR-15’s. I want to ensure guns stay out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have those weapons in the first place.”
Follow Heather Kenyon Stahl on Facebook and Twitter @HeatherForFL. Visit www.heatherforflorida.com to learn more and find out how to contribute to the campaign.