RONDA STORMS ANNOUNCES HER RESIGNATION FROM COUNTY COMMISSION TO RUN FOR SENATE-Andrew Stelzer

06/29/06

Hillsborough county commissioner Ronda Storms made official her resignation from the county commission today. It wont be effective until November 7th, the day which she may take office in the state senate. Storms held a press conference outside the Hillsborough county supervisor of elections office, to announce her resignation, and answer questions about her upcoming campaign. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer was there and filed this report.

ACT “Besides being a mother and a wife to my husband, it has truly been an honor and a priviledge serving the citizens of District four as their County Commissioner, and I look forward to continuing my service in another capacity.�

Despite becoming the target of scorn by many Hillsborough county residents because of her anti-gay and socially conservative remarks and policies, Ronda Storms has consistent support in her east Hillsborough county commission district. She qualified for the November state Senate ballott by petition, collecting what she says was over 3,000 signatures, 400 greater than the number required.

ACT “I am the only candidate in this race that qualified by signatures. One of my opponents tried and failed, and the other opponent failed to try..�

Storms said her candidacy has been certified in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk— the 3 counties which are part of state senate District 10, which stretches from beyond Zephyrhills in the north, east to Lakeland, west past Brandon, and south past Ruskin to the Manatee county line. She says the main issues she hopes to campaign on are personal safety, taxation and growth and development.

ACT “There’s a reason why some of the development community ran candidates against me, ran literature against me and said we need to have a voice for development on the county comissioner and targeted me. There's a reason why the development community is glad that Ronda Storms will be off the county commission. There's a reason for that. I've held growth and development accountable for concurrency, for making sure stormwater projects are designed to do what they say that they're going to do, and then actually function how they say they're going to do it.�

Storms said she is unmatched in her advocacy for the protection of children and their innocence, but she’s even more proud of the stand she took as a Tampa port authority board member against foreign management of American ports.

ACT “I was the only port commisioner who raised the banner and sounded the alarm on foreign interest and terminal operators. That was a hard decision. I mean, I love the President, but I disagreed with the President on foreign, on terminal operators and so I think that that says, you know what- here is a woman who will have the courage of her conviction and stand up and recognize the national debate, before the national debate is actually happening.

District 10, currently represented by Tom Lee, has a large amount of overlap with her current county seat, which Storms said will serve her well, as the voters who know her, support her. Even still, she said she’s confident that the new pool of voters she has to campaign to will not be put off by her reputation as a closed-minded person.

ACT “85% of my county commmission seat is the senate district. I think that the voters know me, and here's what I get. People will say to me, Ronda, if they don't agree with me this is what they say- Ronda, I don't agree with you on a lot of issues, but here's what I do appreciate. You speak your mind, and I know that you're speaking the truth. I know that you're saying what you really believe and not what somebody has told you, and I know that if we're going to be on opposite ends, at least you're going to fight fair, and at least you're going to tell us what you really believe, and so I think that's a valuable characteristic.�

All the same, Storms acknowledged that her strong personality has been a strength as well as a weakness.

ACT “I think that my greatest strength is that I speak my mind and I speak it with the courage of my conviction. That also happens to be, as you might guess, my greatest weakness. (laughs) Sometimes I say things that I shouldn't say, and I say it too hard, and I wish that I wouldn't do that. I hope that I've learned as a public servant; I hope that I've tempered that some. I think I'm a better woman than when I started in that regard, but I still do make mistakes. Those would be my greatest regrets. �

Storms resignation from the county commission wont take effect until November 7th the day of the general election, and the day she would officially take office, if she is elected. Storms was asked whether she would be able to effectively serve on the county commission at the same time she campaigning for Senate.

ACT “I officially got into the race in January; we have statistics at the Board of County Commissioners my productivity has not declined. In fact we are as productive as we ever have been. We are doing everything that we know to do as a county commissioner, being faithful to my job as a county commissioner and still running as a senate candidate. There are lots of criticisms you can have of me as a county commissioner. I am not a perfect person as a public servant, there is no question about that, but you can't say I'm not productive. You can't say I'm not a hard worker, and my work ethic is unmatched in this race.�

July 17th is the last day to qualify for the state senate race; Storms was required by law to submit her resignation 10 days before that date. Storms did not mention her opponents by name, but said she believes she already has the publics support over her two republican challengers, Sandra Murman and Ray young.

ACT “People who know tell me that all the polls show me in the double digits lead, and that my opponents, even my opponents' internal polling, put them in the low teens.�

The two other candidates for District 10 are Democrat Stephen Gorham, and write in candidate Victoria Brake. One reporter asked Storms about the press release sent out by Hillsborough county staff Wednesday afternoon announcing the press conference, and whether that was an improper use of county resources.

ACT “Okay, so this is the last question. (Reporer asks)Why did the communicatins office put out your press release for this event, which feels like a campaign event to me? (Storms answers)Right, right- because it's a resignation of from my county commision seat. (Reporter says) It still feels like a campaign event.(Storms answers)Okay. Sorry about that- can't help how you feel..there's therapy for that..�

The primary election will be on September 5th. The general election is on November 7th. Ronda Storms campaign website is www.rondastorms.com

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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