Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio
The march of history leads to the future
Pam Iorio, Mayor of Tampa, shoots a basketball during Nickelodeon's World Wide Day of Play event in Tampa, Florida. (Photo: Matt Stroshane/Getty Images/NewsCom)
To Pam Iorio, the Mayor of Tampa, Florida, Women’s History Month is a time to reflect on the contributions of women throughout history. It’s almost like going back in time, she said.
“When you go back over women’s history, you begin to realize that the only reason women have the right to vote is because some women took up the cause,” she told Scholastic News Online. “It helps you put in perspective the march of history and the role women have played.”
Known as Mayor Pam, Iorio says she received her inspiration to run for public office as a child. She was inspired by former President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert. The speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also inspired her.
Working with young children is one of her favorite things to do. For the Gasparilla Bank of America marathon race, she ran the last mile with children from the Y.M.C.A. She has formed the Mayor’s Youth Corps for high school students to learn about government.
“I like it when I see that light bulb go off in young people, that they’re actually interested in government,” Iorio said.
Iorio began her political career at age 26, when she became the youngest person elected to the Hillsborough County Commission. She was later elected Supervisor of Elections.
In 2000, when the presidential election hung on the Florida vote count, Iorio was president of the State Association of County Elections Supervisors. Later, she decided to run for Mayor because she felt that she would have a bigger impact on her community.
“I really saw the mayor’s office as an office where you could truly make a difference, where you could shape an agenda and then put your words into action—and that’s what I wanted,” she said.
About 345,000 people live in Tampa, which is a growing community on the western side of the Florida peninsula. She has been active in helping develop the city’s riverfront. She is also working to make Tampa a “green,” or environmental friendly, city by encouraging the development of a light rail system.
Growth of the city is a major issue the Mayor faces every day. The Tampa area is projected to grow to the size of Atlanta by 2025—to more than half a million people!
It was the issue of growth that Mayor Iorio discussed when asked how she wanted her time in office to be remembered.
“I want Tampa to be a more livable city for everyone,” she said, “for people from all walks of life and all different neighborhoods; for people with families and without families; and for the young and the old. I think that’s probably more significant than any one project that I’m planning to do.”
Celebrate Women’s History Month with Scholastic News Online! Learn more about some amazing women who changed history.
Jaqueline Parker is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.