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Politics / Issues

Hillsborough Clerk Pat Frank Won't Run Again, Endorses Les Miller As Successor

Hillsborough Clerk Pat Frank and County Commissioner Les Miller
Nicole Slaughter Graham
/
WUSF Public Media
Pat Frank endorses Les Miller as her successor as the Hillsborough Clerk of Court. The two were joined Thursday by Miller's family.

Hillsborough County Clerk of Court Pat Frank has been a public service pioneer since she began her career in the 1970s.

Thursday, she announced that she will not seek reelection in 2020, and that she’s endorsing County Commissioner Les Miller as her successor.

Even before the start of her nearly 50-year career in politics, Frank was making history.

She was the first woman to attend Georgetown University School of Law, and she was one of the first women to attend the University of Florida.

She was elected to the Hillsborough County School Board in 1972. In 1976, she was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, where she served for two years. She then served in the Florida Senate for a decade.  

In 1998, she was voted to the Board of Hillsborough County Commissioners, where she was elected chairwoman by her colleagues three consecutive years. 

She has served as Clerk of the Court and Comptroller since she was elected in 2004.

Frank said that she's known Miller for a long time, which has given her first-hand insight into his viability for the position.

“He's got the respect of people,” she said. “I've worked with him as a county commissioner and he's a delight to work with. He understands the office and respects the office, and I think he'll be a great person for the employees and the citizens.”

Miller is currently the chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission and has also served in the Florida House of Representatives.

He said that he was honored to have the support of Frank, whom he called a “local icon.” He intends on continuing the work Frank has done.

“I’m not going to go in there and try to shake things up. I’m going to learn what the office is all about during the transition and keep that top-notch staff that she has there,” he said. “Down the road, there might be some things we might look at, but right now it’s trying to make sure that the courts continue to do what they’re doing.”

Frank said after her term is over, she plans to take a brief break, but she's not done with public service yet. Hillsborough County's low literacy rates worry her. 

"I'm concerned about adults who can't read," she said. "I think that one of the reasons children can't read is because their caregivers can't read. I'd like to see what is out there. If it's going okay and they're doing the right thing, fine, then I'm not going to do anything. But I want to step in if I can help."