In the process of redistricting following the 2010 Decennial Census, Polk County, where I live in Central Florida, was carved up into parts of five different Congressional Districts. This seemed disappointing as Polk County has its own distinctive issues and features which are not shared by surrounding counties. Polk County is slightly over 2,000 sq miles and has a population of 609,000 – including 338,943 registered voters.
But one of the nice things to come out of the redistricting fiasco may be one of the candidates running to represent the 17th Congressional District – which includes my residence. I researched the available candidates on offer in my District for the August 14, 2012, Florida primary Election. I was attracted to the credentials and experience of Thomas Rooney – the incumbent Member of Congress for the 16th District (see why I find this confusing?). I voted for Tom Rooney and was pleased to see him walk to victory against his primary opponent.
This week, Congressman Rooney made a speaking tour across his large district including appearances in Polk and Highlands Counties. I had an opportunity to hear him speak, meet him and have a brief conversation with him. I am impressed.
Tom Rooney, 41 years old, has a Masters Degree in Political Science and a Law Degree. He served proudly in the US Army as a JAG Corps attorney. He was assigned as a Special Assistant US Attorney for the purpose of prosecuting civilian crimes at Ft Hood, Texas. He also taught Constitutional and Criminal Law at the US Military Academy at West Point. Since his return to Florida as a civilian, Tom has worked in Palm Beach County as a director and CEO of several child protection organizations. Tom describes himself at that time as the only Republican social worker he knew. He is still a socially aware conservative. He then worked in the practice of law until he decided to step up to public service.
As a Congressman since 2008, Tom is conservative – concerned about fiscal issues, immigration and military and national security issues. He is a Catholic and is strongly pro-life.
Tom was addressing a group of senior citizens this day in Polk County. But I believe he would be comfortable in front of any group. It is easier when you believe in what you are saying and you don't have to change your story for each presentation you make.
Tom Rooney still has to face a Democrat in November. For my readers who may live in Central Florida in Tom's large district, I like him and recommend him for your consideration. Vote early and vote often. (that is a joke)