Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham (District 4) enjoys his visit with the 40-plus members of the Greater Brandon Republican Club during a recently held monthly meeting. The commissioner shared his views and answered club members’ questions and issues related to their community.

It wasn’t the first time that Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham (District 4) attended a Greater Brandon Republican Club monthly meeting in order to share his views, answer questions and reply to the concerns of club members over issues related to them and their community.
Interestingly, at each visit, the commissioner commends the attention of all in attendance and proves to be the meeting’s most popular speaker.
According to Treasurer Melissa Jackson, club meetings are on the first Tuesday evening of each month at the Farm Bureau Building, located at 100 S. Mulrennan Rd. in Valrico, (at the corner of S.R. 60 and Mulrennan Rd.), and sees approximately 30-40 in attendance.
 “Our members seek information on issues related to the local community, discuss veterans and military affairs or current matters directly affecting them,” Jackson said. 
As for the hot topic of the high-speed rail, which was fresh on the minds of all in attendance during the March meeting, Jackson had just one thought on behalf of fellow club members, when she said with a smile, “I don’t think we are going to rail on rail tonight.” 
However, Higginbotham did not hesitate to share his thoughts on the matter, holding onto his sustained stand of voting against the effort in agreement with the government’s recent decision of turning down the high-speed rail project.  
  “I think it is the best interest of the community,” Higginbotham said.
As for the issue of local rail, Higginbotham put it plainly when he said, “I voted against it,” but added that, as in the past, his stand on these projects has more to do with the lack of data provided in support of them actually benefitting the community and presentations put on by HART and other agencies involved.  
“I would hope that I am wrong,” he said. “But I need to see data to backup the claim that local rail will work. At this time, I do not believe that it is the best way to use the taxpayers’ money.”
Among other issues, Higginbotham addressed the county’s budget concerns, the issue of budget restructuring, the BOCC’s plan to vote on the county’s anti-panhandling ordinance to include state roads, which on a six-to-one vote was subsequently approved on the following day thereby simplifying the job of law enforcement.
A few minutes were also devoted to the recent blunder of railroad crossing closings in the Valrico area, which caused long delays for motorists due to the lack of accurate and timely notification by CSX to residents, local HOAs and the sheriff’s office.  
It is safe to say that the commissioner’s presence lived up to the Greater Brandon Republican Club members’ expectations that are likely looking forward to Higginbotham’s next visit.
For more information about the Greater Brandon Republican Club, please visit www.brandon-republicans.com or e-mail info@Brandon-Republicans.com.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.