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Monday, Sep 01, 2014
Politics

Tampa’s globe-trotting mayor returns

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TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn called in Friday morning.

Where in the world was he?

“Tallahassee,” he said, from the other end of a tenuous cellphone connection.

At least he was back in the U.S.A.

You didn’t need a scorecard to keep track of Tampa’s cheerleader in chief for the past two weeks. You needed an atlas.

Buckhorn spent much of the past 14 days wheels-up, flying to Panama, India and the state capital promoting his hometown.

He laid the groundwork for business ties between Tampa and Central America. He jetted off to Mumbai, headquarters for the International Indian Film Academy, which will hold its industry’s globe-trotting awards ceremony here in April. Then it was off to Tallahassee to throw his weight behind an expansion of Tampa International Airport.

He got to see his daughters at home on Davis Islands briefly between international flights last week and again Wednesday.

“It’ll be nice to sleep in my own bed and not live in this Red Bull-caffeinated world,” the mayor said Friday.

But first there was a bit of road-show improv to manage.

“Adding insult to misery, flight just delayed til 9 p.m.,” Buckhorn texted from Tallahassee as a storm rolled over Tampa at 5 p.m. Friday. “Rented a car and now driving 4 hours home.”

Today, with his feet planted back on Tampa’s turf, he’ll spend the weekend glad-handing runners at both ends of at the Gasparilla Distance Classic races.

After kicking off the foot races downtown, he’ll speak at the Doctors For America bus tour signing people up for health insurance at Tampa Family Health Centers on North Nebraska Avenue. Then he’ll help break ground for the Sanatan Mandir Hindu temple on Palm Avenue.

After that, he’ll hit the 10th Annual Rotary Pigfest in Tampa Palms this afternoon, then be honored by Equality Florida at a party tonight.

“I’m looking forward to a normal 15-hour day,” Buckhorn said.

And even if his race duties start before dawn, that’s still better than 14 hours in the back row of coach flying to Mumbai with someone snoring on his shoulder.

kwiatrowski@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7871

Twitter: @kwiatrowskiTBO

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