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State Sen. Ronda Storms to Speak at Alafia Republican Club Meeting

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. April 30 at Beef O' Brady's in Valrico.

News Report

The often-controversial state senator, Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, will be the guest speaker at the April 30 meeting of the Alafia Republican Club.

Born in Des Moines, Storms moved to Florida in 1982. She received her bachelor's degree in education in 1988 and taught high school before returning to Stetson University College of Law for her law degree in 1988.

She then was elected to the Hillsborough County Commission, serving from 1998 to 2006 before her election to the Florida Senate in 2006. She was subsequently re-elected and now serves as chairwoman of Children, Families and Elder Affairs as well as on the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations, Community Affairs, Military Affairs, Space and Domestic Security, Reapportionment, Transportation and the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight.

The meeting will begin with a social at 6 p.m. at Beef O'Brady's, 4330 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico.

In addition to Storms, the club will host Jake Raburn, a candidate for newly formed Florida House Seat 57, which includes portions of Bloomingdale and Riverview as well as FishHawk Ranch.

Raburn is a native of Hillsborough County, born in Tampa and raised in Plant City. He graduated from Plant City High School before attending the University of Florida in Gainesville. After four years at the University of Florida, Raburn obtained a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communication with minors in food & resource economics and agricultural law. While in college, Raburn worked for the Florida FFA Association (formerly Future Farmers of America), the University of Florida Athletic Association and the National FFA organization. His education also gave him the opportunity to learn about agricultural policy and production in foreign countries by visiting Egypt to study agriculture in the Middle East.

After graduation, Raburn worked for the Florida Department of Citrus. As a marketing specialist with the state agency, he learned the ins and outs of the citrus industry. After two years there, Raburn had the opportunity to go to work for Hinton Farms Produc, Inc. Hinton Farms, his wife’s family farming operation, is a producer, packer, cooler and shipper of strawberries, blueberries and other fruits and vegetables grown in District 57. He currently serves as director of marketing. He also serves on the Board of Directors with the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau, the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Committee, the marketing committee of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association and is director on the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Board.

Also on tap, member Joe Byrd also will speak briefly about Republican National Convention and Republican Party of Florida activities.

After the meeting, at about 8 p.m., the club will host a free Lessons in Liberty class led by Chris Shalosky.

The club also is planning a meet-and-greet with Congressman Tom Rooney May 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the patio of the newly opened FishHawk Pizzeria, 15260 FishHawk Blvd.

Rooney, R-Tequesta, currently represents Florida in the United States Congress and has been a champion for the military while also fighting to protect local businesses from over-regulation.

Rooney was raised in Palm Beach Gardens. Following high school, he went on to play college football at Syracuse University and Washington and Jefferson College. After receiving his bachelor's in English literature, Rooney worked for Sen. Connie Mack in Washington, D.C.

He returned home to Florida to attend the University of Florida where he received a master's degree and the University of Miami School of Law where he earned his law degree and met his wife, Tara.

After graduation, the Rooneys spent more than four years in the United States Army JAG Corps. Most notably Rooney served as special assistant U.S. attorney at Fort Hood, Texas, prosecuting all civilian crimes on post. In 2002, Rooney was selected to teach Constitutional and Criminal Law at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In 2004, Rooney returned to Florida and went to work as an assistant attorney general. After leaving the Attorney General's Office, he became CEO of "The Children's Place at Home Safe," a home for abused and neglected children. Rooney was later appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County Board of Directors. In 2006, Rooney entered private practice and joined a Stuart law firm.

On Nov. 4, 2008, Rooney was elected to represent Florida's 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He is the chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. He also serves as a deputy whip for the Majority.

Florida's congressional districts have undergone redistricting and Rooney has decided to run for re-election in a district that includes much of southern Hillsborough County.

The meet-and-greet is an opportunity to visit with Rooney and hear his take on the issues confronting the country.

RSVP to Clint Shouppe at 813-767-0550 or clint.shouppe@gmail.com.

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