Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Sen. Ronda Storms calls for another forum on health care reform

Ronda Storms says Thursday’s anger may have resulted from people not getting answers.


Ronda Storms says Thursday’s anger may have resulted from people not getting answers.

BRANDON — State Sen. Ronda Storms, known for her blunt-spoken, hard-shelled, conservative politics, is calling for all voices to be heard on health care reform in "open" and "civil" debate.

The Republican from Valrico said Friday she's hoping to organize a community forum that lets all sides ask questions and get answers that aren't just pro-reform talking points. She hasn't confirmed a date and time.

Storms says the idea occurred to her after learning of the free-for-all that developed at a forum Thursday night in Ybor City put together by state Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and the Service Employees International Union.

Tampa police estimated the forum drew about 1,500 people, far more than the meeting hall could accommodate. Hundreds of protesters attended, their jeers and chants drowning out U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, as she tried to discuss what is being proposed. Those for and against universal health care coverage legislation clashed outside.

Similar bitter showdowns have taken place throughout the country as pro-reform lawmakers head to their home districts to talk up legislation. Conservative media personalities have been aggressively pointing out the locations and encouraging opponents to attend.

Storms said she does not believe those showing up at the meetings are trying to be disruptive per se. She said she believes they are attempting to get answers and are instead being greeted with a sales pitch, which upsets them.

"I'm not sure people really are trying to create chaos," she said. "They are just trying to get answers. I know there are people who want an opportunity to say into the mic, 'this is my concern' and judge for themselves the response."

From what she heard Thursday, organizers were picking and choosing who they let inside, though clearly some opponents gained entry.

Storms did not directly fault Reed or Castor, the latter of whom she frequently clashed with when both were Hillsborough commissioners. Neither could be reached for comment late Friday.

As for her own event, Storms said she intends to invite members of the region's congressional delegation, most of whom are Republican, and both Florida senators, to field concerns and questions. Proponents and opponents would get equal access.

She said she is talking with local political science professors as potential moderators. As possible locations, she named the Florida State Fairgrounds and Sun City Center.

Bill Varian can be reached at or (813) 226-3387.

State Sen. Ronda Storms calls for another forum on health care reform 08/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 8, 2009 7:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Estimated 5,000 people marvel at MOSI over solar eclipse

    Human Interest

    Packing pinhole cereal box viewers, cardboard glasses and curiosity, solar gawkers gathered outside Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry on Monday for a show that required no ticket.

    At center, Sophia Butter, 8, and Kristina Butera, both of Valrico, watch the sun through eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. MOSI will reopen after renovations on November 18. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  3. Tampa officer treated for knee injury after police truck, police SUV collide


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A Tampa police officer was treated and released for a knee injury when his unmarked police truck collided with a patrol SUV while the officers were tracking a stolen car, a police spokesman said.

  4. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed


    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.