Tom Powers, former Broward Republican Party chairman and longtime Coral Springs commissioner, has died, five days after announcing his resignation as chairman.
The city of Coral Springs announced his death on X, formerly known as Twitter, Saturday afternoon.
Powers, 66, “died peacefully surrounded by family after a hard-fought battle with cancer,” the statement read.
“I’m sad, that’s for sure,” Coral Springs Mayor Scott J. Brook told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Saturday.
Brook served as mayor while Powers was commissioner and was elected again in 2019.
“He just always led with a great heart and a great mind,” Brook said, “and I know he always had the city at the forefront.”
Powers had sent an email to Republican Party members last weekend announcing his resignation.
“As many of you know, I have been battling cancer since early 2021. I have fought as hard as I can fight, but in recent months my health has deteriorated quicker than I expected. I would prefer to spend the moments I have left with my family,” he wrote.
Vice Chair Chris Marino became acting chair of the county party following Powers’ resignation.
Powers had a 21-year career in law enforcement with the Arizona State Police, most of it working as a narcotics agent on the Mexican border, before turning to politics in South Florida.
He served on the Coral Springs City Commission as commissioner and as Vice Mayor from 2008 to 2014.
Becoming a commissioner at the height of the recession, Powers “wanted to take the city to the next level,” said Vince Boccard, a former city commissioner who served alongside him. The two “shared a vision,” he said.
They prioritized recovery from the recession, as well as making the city safer, and were pro-police.
Powers was heavily involved with helping businesses and revitalizing downtown Coral Springs, said Erdal Donmez, a former Coral Springs city manager who worked closely with him.
“When he had something on his mind he was very determined to see it through,” Boccard said. “And he was also able to agree to disagree to disagree with people.”
Those people included Boccard, who, despite sharing Powers’ vision, would still disagree with him sometimes on how to get there.
“We didn’t always agree on everything, but we agreed in the end result, and that was what was best for the city,” Boccard said. “He always had a heart for the city.”
Donmez said he had worked for the city for nearly 16 years and spent “probably half that time with Tom in some capacity.”
The two knew had known each other before Powers was elected commissioner, but his new role “didn’t change anything,” Donmez said.
“Before he was elected, while he was in office or after, he was the same person,” he added, “always smiling, always listened to you, tried to help you out.”
Powers’ Republican politics did not take precedent over his dedication to his position as commissioner, a nonpartisan office.
“If you didn’t know, you would never know what his political affiliation was,” Donmez said: “He always treated everybody equal.”
In 2014, Powers ran for mayor and lost. He also served as county Republican Party vice chair and president of the Coral Springs-Parkland Republican Club.
In 2020, he was elected chair of the Broward Republican Party.
Powers’ ability to work through conflict served him well as chairman, where he sought to bridge different factions of the party after the election of former President Donald Trump.
“He did a lot to bring the party together. He’s a selfless person,” Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, who served as party chair from 2007 to 2010, had told the Sun Sentinel after Powers’ resignation on Monday.
Political leaders in Broward and the state of Florida remembered Powers on social media Saturday.
“Chairman Tom Powers was a very competent and effective leader. He loved his country and worked hard to protect it. Grassroots PATRIOT. Big loss for our @FloridaGOP Family,” Christian Ziegler, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, wrote on X.
“Tom was a dedicated and tireless leader,” wrote Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner John Herbst. “His presence will be sorely missed.”
Powers “fought a hard fight until the very end,” wrote Broward Republican State Committeewoman Michele Merrell. “He loved America and fought hard to protect it.”
A special election will soon be held to select someone to serve the remainder of Powers’ term as chairman, which goes through the 2024 elections.
Marino, the acting chair, and party Treasurer Abby Stafford, who Powers endorsed as his successor in his resignation letter, both said they would run.
“Tom Powers was a true patriot that loved his family, his country, and his @BrowardGOP
family,” Stafford wrote on X. “Privileged to have been able to call him a friend these past few years. I only wish we could’ve fought side by side to turn Broward red longer.”
Powers is survived by his wife, Teresa and their three children, Brendon, Danny (Brooke) and Alexis.