Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Sen. Joyner's conviction key to her success

State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, spoke in broad terms as she accepted induction into the Hillsborough County Women's Hall of Fame Wednesday.

But she could have easily tied her comments to the controversy surrounding her latest stand in Tallahassee.

Joyner shared the honors with two posthumous inductees, Nancy Ford and Eleanor "Ella" McWilliams Chamberlain. The Hillsborough County's Commission on the Status of Women made the selections.

Joyner told the lunchtime audience at the Tampa Convention Center that her parents instilled conviction in her at an early age.

"You have to stand up for what's right even if you're standing alone," Joyner said. "Only history will reflect if any man or woman made the right decision."

The points she made mirror a lifetime of service, but anyone keeping up with the news knew the statements could have applied to the clash she endured with Republicans and Democrats last week.

Joyner tried to kill a bill set to overhaul Hillsborough's Civil Service Board, a bill that seemingly enjoyed support from every elected official in the county.

She stood alone.

State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, used a procedural move to put the bill back in play and it passed both houses. Joyner, however, expressed no regrets about her bold move.

She reiterated Wednesday that her opposition should not have come as a surprise given that she told everyone at a legislative delegation meeting in December that she would do everything in her power to kill the bill.

She insists that the same threats of favoritism that led to the creation of the Civil Service Board in 1951 exist today.

Joyner said she doesn't believe the current elected officials, who complain about the board's strict hiring, promotions and discipline requirements, will engage in unfair practices.

But she does believe it opens the door for successors to take advantage of the system.

Still, she holds no grudges.

In fact, Joyner used her time behind the lectern to compliment Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank, a harsh critic of her attempt to kill the bill.

It's an admirable moment for Joyner, the county's first female black attorney. In a political world where go-along to get-along seems to be the norm, she refused to back down.

I like that.

Interestingly, the other two honorees exhibited similar conviction. Ford, the county's first female banking executive, at the Bank of Tampa, ardently fought for the Equal Rights Amendment. She also founded the Athena Society.

Chamberlain fought for suffrage and also worked for "mothers' pensions," an early form of Social Security for widows seeking help to support children.

All three of these women stood in the face of opposition when it was most difficult. An actress who portrayed Chamberlain at the luncheon concluded her brief performance by saying, "Our work is not done."

And that work will never get done if women like Joyner, Ford and Chamberlain aren't willing to take a stand.

That's all I'm saying.

State Sen. Joyner's conviction key to her success 05/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 9:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  2. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida


     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  4. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  5. Advice for presidents from military families they've tried to console


    One family returned the letter because it was full of errors. Another was left cold when the letter they got screamed "robo-pen." Still another was puzzled to find 17 copies of their letter in the mailbox.

    Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Cowan, 37, was killed in a helicopter training accident in South Korea on Feb. 26, 2005. [Courtesy of Kari Cowan]