City of Tampa, Florida
Bob Buckhorn was sworn in as mayor on April 1, 2011. Buckhorn believes Tampa’s strength is in its diversity and his priorities are job creation and economic growth.
A 1980 graduate of Penn State University, Buckhorn arrived in Tampa in 1982. After taking a marketing position with a national consumer product company, he became active in national and local politics, co-chairing the John Glenn for President campaign in Hillsborough County.
In 1985, he assumed the position of director of governmental affairs for the Builders Association of Greater Tampa, a trade association representing the construction industry in Hillsborough County, where he led the effort to establish the Hillsborough County Housing Finance Agency. In 1987, he coordinated the successful mayoral campaign of Mayor Sandy Freedman and assumed the role of special assistant to the mayor upon her election, serving in this capacity until 1995.
A long-time supporter of the military, Buckhorn was chair of the MacDill Reuse Advisory Committee in 1991 and served as a member of Florida’s Defense Transition and Conversion Commission. He helped lead the effort against the closure of MacDill Air Force Base to ensure its 6,000 jobs and $2 billion economic impact remained in Tampa. He co-chaired the Base Closure Committee that coordinated Florida’s fight to save its bases, which resulted in no base closures for the state and a net gain in military-related jobs.
In 1995 Buckhorn was elected to an at-large seat on the Tampa City Council, focusing on law enforcement and quality of life issues. The Rave Ordinance he authored was used as a model for recently passed statewide legislation and was highlighted on ABC News’s “20/20.” Fiscal discipline and neighborhood empowerment were also high on his legislative agenda: Buckhorn led an effort to allow low-income seniors to reduce their property tax burden, fought to interject competition into city government, and co-wrote a massive overhaul of the City’s code of ethics. In 1999 he was reelected with 75 percent of the vote.
In 2003 Buckhorn joined the Dewey Square Group, a nationally known public affairs company, where he served as a principal in the Florida office. In 2007 he opened Buckhorn Partners, a public affairs firm based in Tampa. He is married to Dr. Catherine Lynch Buckhorn and they have two daughters.