Liberia’s Friend & Mayoral Candidate, Billionaire David Straz Eyeing Prosperity For Tampa’s Minority Community


TAMPA – With less than seven months to the heated mayoral race in Tampa Florida, billionaire philanthropist David Straz says it is important for Tampa’s minority communities to share fully in the area’s prosperity.

Mr. Straz, who has contributed to a number of community and educational projects in Liberia over the years, was speaking last Friday when he addressed a crowd at the Cuban Club in Ybor City.

The billionaire, according to, has promised, if elected, to reorganize the city’s bureaucracy, grouping six departments—police, fire, neighborhood enhancement, parks and recreation, economic development and minority business development—-into a “Quality of Life Cabinet” that he would gather for personal attention every Monday morning if elected mayor.

In Liberia, Mr. Straz who built his fortune, by “working hard, the old-fashioned way,” has the David A. Straz-Sinje Technical and Vocational College named in his honor.

The school, one of the undergraduate Colleges of the University of Liberia is located 1 ½ miles east of Sinje Town in Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County.

Established by the Liberian Government with initial assistance from Mr. Straz’s Foundation, the the college was dedicated on July 23, 2012 by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and academic activities started on October 29, 2012.

The college caters to the diverse educational needs of the rural counties particularly Grand Cape Mount County of the Western Region and prepares students for the job market, self-employment and possible transfer to the university colleges for further education.

As such, the Associate of Science degree (A.Sc. degree), Short-term Workforce Development Training and Demand Driven Stakeholders’ programs were proposed for the college when it was founded. Since its establishment, the college has been focused on providing academic and technical training leading to the award of the Associate of Science Degree in Agriculture, Education and Engineering Technology for a period ranging from 24 – 36 months. These degree programs have various specialized areas.

Still new to politics, Mr. Straz, 75, is considered one of the leading contenders to become the next mayor of Tampa in a field that also includes council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen, former county commissioner Ed Turanchik, small businessman Topher Morrison and former police chief Jane Castor.

Mr. Straz also has job creation as a major part of his policy as he aims to close the gaps between the haves and have-nots.

Mr. Straz who has dominated spending in the race has already begun running TV commercials and placing large buys on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Mr. Straz who cleverly acknowledges his lapses in politics, says he’s no politician but notes that his love for the Tampa, Florida community is a major reason why he in in the race and many residents appear to be buying into his focus on people and not just government.

“I don’t want the focus of city government to be on the government itself. I want the focus to be on the people, families, small business and, most importantly, our quality of life, ” Mr. Straz, is quoted by the paper.