Today is Election Day in the City of Tampa for a new Mayor. Perfect day to reflect. I went to the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta few weeks ago in Lykes Gaslight Park. The food trucks were all arranged around with the block as they are every month and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was spending his last time as the current Mayor there.
Bob Buckhorn was a big supporter of food trucks in a time period where most municipalities were firmly against local food trucks and had passed some of the most restrictive laws in the nation.
Some reporters at Tampa Bay Times were still writing falsehoods in 2011 about roach coaches in the 1970s, but Buckhorn knew better and proved it with inspections at every rally to show our food trucks are some of the cleanest businesses in town.
Tampa led the way nationwide in cities that supported food trucks and was rewarded with tourism and local business growth. It has been proven that food trucks help people get their dreams off the ground, and several local businesses in town are testaments of that.
I helped in 2013 to throw the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally EVER at the Florida State Fairgrounds and Bob Buckhorn was a huge supporter of the entire process.
The City of Tampa supported the initiative and helped to the support that helped make the event a success that drew over 30,000 people to the venue and was arguably one of the most successful days in food truck history here in Tampa. I will never forget the support he provided to the event and to the movement in general and I doubt most food truck owners will ever forget that day as well.
He said at the time, “I want to be known as the foodie capital and the king of the food truck movement.”
I literally rode on top of a double-decker food truck (Tropiccool) from ENCORE Tampa! Downtown onto Interstate-4 into the highway and rode in a parade of over 75 food trucks to the Florida State Fairgrounds. Helicopters following behind. It was a moment I may never forget in my life. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was there to kick off that magical moment with all the media of Tampa.
People can have their political disagreements with Bob Buckhorn, but one thing I think everyone can agree with is that Tampa has been lucky to have a mayor who legitimately cares about Tampa and has done everything in his power to make Tampa a better place to live.
From finishing up the Tampa Riverwalk, to being at every restaurant and business Grand Opening imaginable and supporting the Cuban Sandwich Festival to the opening at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Bob Buckhorn has been there for this town in many ways. It is obvious that this man loves Tampa and I’m thankful for that. Thank you for your service to our growing City of Tampa.
Hopefully the next mayor will care about Tampa the same way, no matter who they are.
Jeff Houck says it well here: