Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

Photo by ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES

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 [email protected] 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

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.