Commissioner Mariella Smith was elected to represent Countywide District 5 in 2018. She has been a community advocate for decades, working on community plans, transportation plans, growth management, and environmental protection throughout the county. She has served on the Hillsborough County Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Committee, the Hillsborough County Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee, the Southwest Florida Water Management District Environmental Advisory Committee, and other boards.
Commissioner Smith earned the Citizen Planning Advocacy Award from the American Planning Association Suncoast Section for advocating for smart growth management and organizing public participation in community planning. She also earned the Hillsborough County Planning Commission Chairman’s Award, along with other citizen advocates, for her work in that area. In addition, she has earned several awards from the Sierra Club’s state and local groups for her work as an environmental advocate, including the Tampa Bay Group's highest award, the Black Bear Award.
Commissioner Smith earned her M.A. in Philosophy, majoring in Ethics, from Florida State University. While at FSU she taught classes in Ethics and Logic, and helped organize an International Congress on Human Rights. In 1988 she started her own business, InSight Graphic Design, which offered print and web design, and web development services, until her election in 2018. She volunteered for many years as a Table Official for Wheelchair Rugby in national and international tournaments, including the Paralympics; and for years she led the training for Hillsborough County staff for Tampa’s annual international Wheelchair Rugby tournament. A fourth-generation native of Tampa, with a Cuban mother and a Midwestern father, Commissioner Smith grew up in Tampa. She and her husband, Tres, lived in Temple Terrace for 12 years. They now live in Ruskin, at the mouth of the Little Manatee River.