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No. 21 on Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians List: Ed Hooper

State of Pinellas Sen. Ed Hooper remained stable in this year’s list, ranking 21st for the second year in a row. While Hooper hasn’t advanced, his appearance on the list itself shows a gradual growth in his influence – just three years ago, the senator just missed the cut.

Hooper is a retired firefighter known for his calm yet committed demeanor. He has assumed several leadership roles in the Senate over the past several years, leading the Senate Committee on Trade and Tourism and serving as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations.

These roles give Hooper control of politics related to Florida’s often intertwined tourism and economic interests, which cannot be understated. Hooper’s transition to Senate leadership shows growing confidence in the senator, particularly his efforts to boost and repair state tourism.

“I was literally thrown into the electoral abyss with Ed Hooper by the then President of the Senate. Invoice galvanic. Here’s what I learned: Don’t let Senator Hooper’s calm, quiet demeanor fool you. He’s a fierce lawmaker and politician,” the GOP strategist said. Anthony Pedicini.

Hooper is a champion of legislation supporting firefighters and first responders, as well as strengthening the state’s tourism industry.

During the last legislative session, Hooper passed a bill (SB 434) to expand VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm, which Hooper has always fought to protect amid attacks from several lawmakers who have tried to defund and dismantle the agency.

As Hooper pushed to extend the agency’s operations for the next eight years, the legislature opted for the House version, which only provided for a five-year extension. Under current law, the authorization for VISIT FLORIDA expires on October 1, 2023. The extension is directed to the government. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

“Solid. Reliable. Wise. Three words to describe one of the Senate’s most beloved members, Senator Ed Hooper. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, a silence is heard because his 39 colleagues know the value of his words. Senator Hooper brings an invaluable perspective to Tallahassee as a former first responder,” the Senate Speaker said. wilton simpson noted.

“As you would expect from his years as a firefighter, Senator Hooper runs for challenges as others run away. He is certainly a formidable political force, but also an effective advocate for his local community, bringing millions of dollars in needed infrastructure and support to the Tampa Bay area. As Speaker of the Senate, I could not be more proud to have served with President Hooper. He’s a gentleman in every sense of the word.

Hooper is also a tireless advocate for the Moffitt Cancer Center, securing millions of dollars in funding for the institution during his time in the Senate. This year, he finalized $120 million in the Legislature’s budget to improve infrastructure in the area around Moffitt’s upcoming Pasco County site.

“Ed is one of the few who really knows how to get things done behind the scenes. It may have been his years as a first responder and having to put his life on the line, but I know Senator Hooper as an effective, thoughtful, and sometimes independent legislative leader who fights hard for his community. It’s that quiet fight that earns him a spot on this list,” Pedicini continued.

The incumbent also intends to stand for election. Like his ranking, the district he will likely seek out for this election cycle is Senate District 21, which almost identically replaces what is currently Senate District 16.

“Sen. Hooper may be quiet, but he knows how to get the job done. He is a true public servant and has always been committed to his community, first as a firefighter and now as a state senator,” said Shawn to favor, founder of Sunrise Consulting Group. “He and his wife, Lee, are a team in this process. Where you see one, you will quickly find the other. It keeps him grounded in this process to have a partner like that. Pasco and Pinellas are lucky to have them to represent them.

Hooper began to gain traction in the political sphere after a narrow victory over the Democrat Amanda Murphy in 2018, which surprised some and helped the GOP maintain its stronghold in the Senate. The swing neighborhood of Clearwater leans conservative, but there is a narrow divide between Republicans and Democrats.

“While term limits change the face of the Tampa Bay delegation, a nearly constant face will thankfully remain,” said Alain Suskey, Shumaker Managing Partner of State Affairs. “Ed Hooper’s firm and trustworthy hand in delegation ensures that our region’s voice will continue to be heard in the halls where funding and policy decisions are made.

He previously served four terms in the State House before stepping down in 2014 due to term limits.

With growing leadership roles and a passion for first responders and the state’s first industry, Hooper will likely only continue to move up the roster.

Joe Henderson’s opinion: He stayed in the game to get an extension to VISIT FLORIDA, which keeps the agency beleaguered but valuable in its mission to promote tourism in the state. The Hooper District includes northern Pinellas County and parts of Pasco, and tourism is quite significant there.


For methodology, we define the Tampa Bay area as Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk, or Sarasota — if politicians in those counties impact Pinellas or Hillsborough.

We define a politician as being in office or a candidate for office.

Being first on a panelist’s list earns the politician 25 points, second 24 points, and so on, until being ranked 25th earns the politician one point. Points are added and, voila, we have a list.

A special thank you to our experienced and knowledgeable panelists, who were instrumental in shaping the 2022 roster: Christina Barker of the Vinik Family Office, Ashley Baumann of Mercury, Ed Briggs from RSA Consulting, Ricky Butler from the Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office, Reggie Cardozo from the public square, Ronald Christaldi by Schumaker, Evan Donovan of the WFLA, Joe Farrell by Pinellas Realtors, pollster Matt Florel of the Vicidal group, Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, political consultant Max Bonman, mike griffin of Savills, Joe Henderson, Todd Josko of Ballard Partners, Natalie King from RSA Consulting, Patrick Manteigaeditor of LaGaceta, Seth McKeel of the Southern Group, Jennifer Motsingerexecutive vice president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association, Mitch Perry of Charter News, Ron Pierce from RSA Consulting, Preston Rudy of Catalyst Communications Group, and Alan Suskey Shumaker advisors. With Michelle and Pierre Schorsch.

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