Guv’na hopeful relishes ‘campaign’

Jessica Sherman is off to quite a start in her first bid for the honorary title of Lutz Guv’na.

Sherman recently was voted the winner of the Guv’na Debate, held May 20 at the Old Lutz School.

There, she claimed victory in the event’s talent contest, and earned a $100 campaign donation for bringing the most guests — friends and family.

Now, the Guv’na hopeful has her eye on winning the race.

At the Guv’na debate, Sherman’s camp managed to sway ‘voters” with a wide assortment of goodies and prizes. All proceeds from the Guv’na of Lutz ‘campaign’ benefit about 20 local causes, including, scout troops, the Old Lutz School, the Friends of the Library, and the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Women’s Club.
(Kevin Weiss)

Although, she said, by the same token she’s simply enjoying the “campaign” trail.

“I am just so happy to be able to be a part of this — seriously,” said Sherman. “It’s so far been a blast, and I’m looking forward to every single event.”

Sherman decided to join the race to help the nonprofit organizations and beneficiaries that receive proceeds from the race support.

Those organizations include Girl Scout Troop 2714, where Sherman was a parent leader for a few years.

“The scout program is super near and dear to my heart,” Sherman said. “Those girls are amazing. They are just the best kids, ever.”

Currently the manager at Pinch A Penny in Lutz, Sherman has worked in the pool industry for about 15 years.

She’s also a longtime Lutz resident.

Her campaign slogan — “Keep Lutz Local”— reflects her passion for the tight-knit Hillsborough County community.

It’s also a message to support family-owned and operated businesses in the area.

“Lutz is special,” she said, “because of the entrepreneurs that we have in our community.”

The distinct “small-town” vibe isn’t lost on her, either.

“How many communities still have their original schoolhouse?” said Sherman, referring to the Historic Old Lutz School built in 1927.

Despite a notable debate showing, Sherman acknowledged her nervousness heading into the satirical-based event. “I was having a small panic attack,” she said.

But, Sherman ably stepped out of her comfort zone, thanks to witty one-liners and dance moves — comically resembling those popularized by “Seinfeld” TV series character Elaine Benes, portrayed by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.

“She was my inspiration; my dance skills have been compared to hers quite a few times,” Sherman said, jokingly.

The chance to sway “voters” doesn’t end there.

Sherman has various “campaign” fundraising events in the works, including a spaghetti dinner on June 4 and a tea lunch on June 11.

She also plans to announce a “super secret” surprise event that coincides with the grand opening of a new Lutz business.

Additionally, Sherman is offering opportunities to win prizes in exchange for “campaign” donations, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers ticket packages, a Zodiac MX6 pool cleaner and Jazzercise membership discounts.

Besides raising money for “such great causes,” Sherman is eager to promote Lutz and meet new people, over the next few months.

“It’s just great a feeling to be able to embrace your community the way that this allows you to,” she said.

The Guv’na race continues through the Fourth of July weekend.

The winner will be announced after the community’s traditional parade.

To receive the coveted “sash,” Sherman must outpace two other candidates — Kori Rankin, of Kori Rankin Photography, and incumbent Greg Gilbert, of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Lutz.

The annual charity event started in 1991. More than $100,000 has been raised in the past decade alone.

The winner of the Guv’na race gets to earmark 10 percent of what he or she raises to the charitable organization of his or her choice.

Regardless of the outcome, Sherman’s 2017 bid for Lutz Guv’na probably won’t be her last.

“If the community would like me to run again, I would be all for it,” Sherman said. “I think it would be fun to do again, absolutely.”

If you’d like to contribute to Sherman’s campaign, call (813) 362-1085 or email .

Upcoming fundraisers
Those wishing to support Jessica Sherman’s bid to become the next Lutz Guv’na can attend these upcoming fundraisers:

  • Spaghetti Dinner: June 4 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at 504 Crystal Grove Blvd., in Lutz. Tickets are $5. Dinner includes a drink and garlic bread.
  • Tea Lunch: June 11, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Tea Room at Deb’s Whistle Stop Depot, 100 Fourth St. W., in Lutz. Cost is $35. Lunch includes sandwiches and tea.

Published May 31, 2017

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