ST. PETERSBURG –It has been eight years since Darryl Rouson marched up to Tallahassee as an enthused state representative eager to change the culture of ineffective politics. The charge is noble, but the lessons are difficult. The time spent is consuming, and the sacrifices are many. At times, the moments are as lonely and dark as the highway driving to and from legislative sessions.
It’s a grind that few would know and even less would care to do. Now, in his final term as the Florida State Representative from District 70, which covers parts Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties, Rouson shared his experiences with a group of pastors and other civic leaders in a luncheon held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club for a legislative wrap up and addressed plans for the future.
“An inspiring event!,” said Dr. Basha Jordan, Jr., pastor of Hope Alive Outreach. “It let us know the multiplicity of work and effort Rep. Rouson has accomplished in his eight years of serving our people. This was a great opportunity to learn of the wealth of information that was shared with us today.”
The ambiance of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club last Friday, April 29 along with a buffet of shrimp corn chowder, tilapia with creole remoulade, roasted vegetable medley and a selection of chef’s choice dessert, set the tone for a receptive audience of community leaders anxious for a legislative report card.
“I want to start by saying thank you to all of you who not only came out this afternoon, but who trusted and supported me and my family for the eight years that I represented you in Tallahassee,” said Rouson, followed by applause from the audience. “It wasn’t always easy, but together we fought a good fight, but the course is not finished. I kept the faith and continue to have faith in you and the citizens that we all represent. The race is not over. We have a lot more running to do.”
Rouson acknowledges that the race on reducing gun violence and improving education must continue to be run. He placed importance on figuring out how to positively receive our kids with the emphasis on education centers being creative, responsible and financially supportive. In his eight years in the House of Representatives, the appropriations he helped bring back to the district total over $180,000,000 and include the Martin Luther King Day of Service, Boys and Girls Club, Uinversity of South Florida Medical Center, Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Inc., JusticeWorks Youthcare, Winning Reading Boost Legislative Pilot (5 Failing Schools) and USF St. Petersburg College of Business.
Although Rouson’s term as state representative is coming to an end, it won’t be the last that you’ll hear from him. He has kicked off a campaign to become the Florida State Senator from District 19, which covers Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in the new re-districting alignment.
“Very exciting event opportunity,” said Jonathan Wade, Pastor of College Temple AME Church in St. Petersburg. “The energy in the room was positive, pleasant and high. Pastors came together to pray for Rep. Rouson in him winning the senate seat. This is exciting.”
As a senator, Rouson will look to continue running the unfinished course to make a difference in Tampa Bay. Though challenging, sacrificial and consuming, he has the faith.