Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rowden takes on state House District 44 incumbent Schenck

BROOKSVILLE — Framed by red, white and blue balloons and flanked by the county's Democratic leadership, Diane Rowden on Wednesday announced she is seeking the District 44 state House seat now held by Robert Schenck.

A former county commissioner, Rowden came out swinging at Schenck's record, citing his support for state fee increases, his service of special interests and his absence from frontline leadership.

"Unlike my opponent Schenck, I am a true fiscal conservative who believes government must operate within its means,'' she said, adding that the people of the district "are not being represented in a way that supports their best interests. They're being ignored.''

The district includes most of Hernando, as well as parts of Pasco and Sumter counties.

Schenck later told the St. Petersburg Times that voters need to examine voting records to see the truth.

"For her to call herself a fiscal conservative is almost laughable,'' he said, noting that "you can see a dozen times where she increased taxes and fees to the citizens of Hernando County.''

Rowden said her record as a commissioner proves her commitment. She cited her efforts to manage growth and prevent developers from taking advantage of the county and said that property tax rate cuts during her tenure saved Hernando residents more than $44 million.

She accused Schenck of voting for "one of the largest tax increases in recent history'' by supporting hikes in auto tags, hunting and fishing licenses.

"District 44 desperately needs the creation of new jobs,'' she said, noting that "for too long the only decent jobs available in our area have been contingent on the housing industry.'' She said she would work to create jobs in green energy.

Rowden, 60, was soundly defeated by John Druzbick in her bid for a third term on the County Commission in November 2008. She also has served on the School Board.

She said the same special interests that Schenck serves — the builders, developers and Republican Party leadership and specifically party chairman Blaise Ingoglia — were responsible for her commission defeat. But she said things will be different in the House race.

Schenck, who is seeking his third term in the House, is also a former county commissioner. Asked if he caters to special interests, Schenck said, "If the people of Hernando County are a special interest, then so be it.''

After leaving the commission, Rowden earned certification as a building performance analyst and founded Smart Energy Evaluations, an energy-auditing firm that helps home and business owners examine their energy consumption and recommends energy-saving solutions.

She also works as a community liaison for Capri Home Care.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Rowden takes on state House District 44 incumbent Schenck 01/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    The Rays take on the Orioles again tonight and will face another old friend for the first time, as RHP Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for the home team.

    Hellickson was drafted by the Rays in 2005 and pitched for them from 2010-14, then was traded to Arizona. He has since bounced to the Phillies and …

  2. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Charles Bradley, acclaimed Florida soul singer, dies at 68


    Acclaimed Florida R&B powerhouse Charles Bradley, whose raw, pained voice earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle of Soul, has died of cancer at 68, his representatives announced Saturday.

    Charles Bradley performed at the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival.
  4. Kriseman and Baker cash race continues as campaigns officially reset


    The mayoral campaign, mostly operating in stealth mode during the two weeks of Hurricane Irma's build-up, arrival and recovery, has entered its stretch run, a compressed schedule of ten days before ballots are mailed to tens of thousands of voters in the Sunshine City.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker are emerging from Hurricane Irma mode and getting back into campaign form
  5. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.