By Gwen Rollings
U.S. Rep. Ross Spano left the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. recently to pay a visit to many constituents and friends meeting in a hall of Bay Life Church in Brandon. On January 21, Spano was the guest speaker at the East Hillsborough Community Meeting.
Spano greeted everyone with a handshake prior to being introduced by Cheryl Hickman, executive director of Women’s Resource Center of Tampa. Spano began by acknowledging his lifelong ties to the Brandon area, which he called his “stompin’ ground” and recalled memories involving boyhood friend Pat Simmons, who was in the audience.
Spano said his passion is to serve. He served in the Florida legislature for three terms. He authored and passed more anti-human trafficking bills than any other member of the Florida House in history. He is a strong supporter of the right to life, our veterans, the Second Amendment, small business and limited government. Spano received an A-rating from the Susan B. Anthony List in its brand-new Pro-Life National Scorecard.
Spano responded, “As a father and grandfather, I believe every child has a right to life.” He added that, after serving in the U.S. Congress for a year, “We need prayer.”
After his comments, Spano responded to questions and concerns from those present, including representatives from nonprofit organizations, local businesses, volunteers with religious charities, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and concerned citizens.
Several months ago, members of this community meeting compiled a list of 19 community needs and gaps in service around the East Hillsborough area, such as: more low-income housing, affordable childcare, resources for foster care, more emergency shelters, skill development programs, free parenting classes, shelter for the elderly mentally ill who are homeless and options for counseling and mentoring youth.
As many of these concerns were voiced, Spano listened, offered solutions when appropriate, took note of unresolved issues and promised to continue making constituents’ concerns his priority.
Hickman concluded by thanking Spano and reminding everyone that copies of the 2019 East Hillsborough Community Resource Guide, an up-to-date guide developed for those in need and facing emergency/urgent life events to local community agencies and organizations for assistance, are still available.
At the next meeting, at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 18, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will speak on homelessness and Carol Toffolon from The Charity Branch will share how businesses can impact social issues through collaboration.
Contact information: email Cheryl@wrctampa.org or call 813-309-3357.