|Carl F. Zimmermann|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 65th district
November 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Peter Nehr|
February 24, 1951 |
Bayshore, New York
|Alma mater||Buffalo State College (B.S.) (M.S.)|
|Profession||Teacher and broadcast journalist|
Education and early career
Zimmermann attended SUNY Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education. He worked for several advertising agencies for nine years before moving to Florida in 1984. Zimmermann teaches TV production at Countryside High School in Clearwater. He is known for building a nationally recognized, award-winning TV/Broadcast journalism program that is now celebrating its 27th year. Zimmermann has been recognized six times as teacher of the year—three times as the Tampa Bay-area teacher of the year, and, in 2003, the state journalism teacher of the year by the Florida Scholastic Press Association. The program at Countryside High School is known as UPC-TV, short for Upper Pinellas County TV, and has produced as many as 100 graduates that went on to successful careers in the television or film industry. Every year he takes students to the Sundance Film Festival for a week.
Florida House of Representatives
When incumbent Republican State Representative Gus Bilirakis vacated his House seat due to term limits and ran for Congress, Zimmermann ran to succeed him in the 48th District, which included a few precincts in Pasco County and northern Pinellas County. He won the nomination of the Democratic Party unopposed and faced Tarpon Springs City Commissioner Peter Nehr, the Republican nominee, in the general election. Zimmermann narrowly lost to Nehr by only 1,485 votes, winning 48% of the vote. He ran against Nehr again in 2008, and, though he lost again, he lost by only 1,384 votes this time, winning 49% of the vote.
When the Florida House of Representatives districts were redrawn in 2012, Zimmermann opted to run in the 65th District, which closely matched the 48th District in the territory it encompassed. For the third time, he faced Nehr, who emerged from a hotly contested Republican primary, in a general election. The Tampa Bay Times endorsed Zimmermann, praising him for having "passion for public education and a better sense of what works in the classroom, including favoring end-of-course exams instead of the FCAT".
In the legislature, Zimmermann tentatively supported legislation that would allow trained employees to carry guns in the school they were assigned to, as he was "swayed by the argument that rural schools cannot afford to wait the extra minutes it might take for law enforcement to arrive in the case of a mass shooting".