TARPON SPRINGS, FL - March 15, 2016 was a historic day in Florida. On the one hand, senior U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, considered one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, bowed out of the 2016 presidential race after losing that party’s state primary that evening. But another Floridian fared more favorably: Chris Alahouzos, who has lived in Tarpon Springs since he was 13 years old, became the first Greek-born mayor (Kalymnos) of that Florida Gulf Coast city, which features the highest percentage of Greeks per capita anywhere in the United States.
“I’m going to be the mayor for all of the people,” Alahouzos told The National Herald at the time, referring to the voters he hadn’t won over, despite winning by a very comfortable margin, capturing 60 percent of the vote. Despite his strong popularity among his fellow Hellenes, Tarpon’s Greek population is only about 10 percent, so most of his supporters were non-Greeks.
Now, as his first three-year term comes to an end, Alahouzos is running for reelection. The election is on March 12 and his opponent is David O. Archie, a two-term former mayor who didn’t run in 2016 due to term limits (Tarpon permits a maximum of two consecutive terms).
A FULL-TIME MAYOR
“With all due respect to my opponent,” Alahouzos told TNH, “my record speaks for itself. My opponent served as a part-time mayor. That’s usually the case with our mayors,” he explained, as the annual salary is $13,000, and so mayors usually serve in that capacity part-time as they undertake other jobs to piece together a living.
In stark contrast, Alahouzos describes that he works “as many hours as it takes – 40 hours, 50 hours – a week to get the job done, and I have no other employer. My only employer is the City of Tarpon Springs.”
A high-level manager for Verizon for many decades, Alahouzos, who previously served as a commissioner and vice mayor of Tarpon, specifically waited until he retired to run for mayor. “I wanted to make sure I committed myself to the position fully,” he told TNH. Referring to the salary, he said “obviously, I’m not doing this for the money.”
The full list of the over 100 accomplishments Tarpon Springs has identified in Alahouzos’ first three years as mayor are available on the city’s website, ctsfl.us. “Some of the main ones are a balanced budget every year without emergency funds, business incentives, excellent services to seniors, focusing on our wonderful year-round residents as well as our great tourist industry, and working with our police and fire departments to maintain a safe community,” Alahouzos told TNH.
In his second term as mayor, Alahouzos said he plans to establish a senior center, new sewer lines, new water pipes, a boat ramp with parking, a dental clinic, more recreation, more beautification, and a public swimming pool.
Alahouzos attributes an ambitious list of future goals to complement the ones already fulfilled not only to his many years of experience in managing a Fortune 500 organization and his love for Tarpon Springs, but because he devotes twice as much time as previous mayors, maybe three times, maybe more, to getting the job done. “The people know my record and my opponent’s record,” he said. “Again my record speaks for itself. The citizens of Tarpon Springs are in a unique situation because they have the opportunity to continue to be served by a full-time mayor. It is my honor and privilege to serve them, and I hope I have earned their trust and confidence so that they will allow me to serve them for another three years.”