Dozens of Tampa Bay area residents gathered Tuesday night in Brandon for a chance to ask tough questions to someone they figured might have some answers.
They were not disappointed.
State Rep. Scott Randolph of District 36 (Orlando) met with the East Hillsborough Democratic Club at for their monthly meeting to discuss the issues facing Florida Democrats. Topics ranged from voter supression laws, Republican political tactics, women's rights and the truth about tax cuts, leaving those in attendance feeling slightly more educated than when they walked in.
"He was very informative," Tampa's Marvin Baity said. "It was real thought provoking so I'm glad my sister brought me out here. I'll definitely come back, especially after hearing about the rights of those with criminal records who want to vote, I think it's important we address that issue."
Randolph is somewhat famous for being reprimanded by the State House of Representatives last year for using the word "uterus" when discussing the Republican stance on government regulation over businesses and women's rights. He suggested his wife incorportate her uterus to combat measures that restrict abortions.
On Tuesday, Randolph stuck mostly to policy questions and what is currently happening in the Republican-dominated Florida House, where he is outnumbered by more than 2-1.
"If you're uninsured, a union member, middle class or a woman, they've attacked you during this session," Randolph said. "We're in the midst of a deep recession, and we spent three days this session talking about anti-choice laws. They drive people to the polls with social issues and create legislation that favors big corporations and wealthy people. Realize when they talk about tax cuts, they don't mean you."
Randolph talked extensively about voter supression laws and Republican political tactics Tuesday and by the time he exited the podium he was hearing suggestions that he run for governor in 2014. But he wasn't off the hook yet.
The concerns of those in attendance came through vividly for Randolph when he opened the floor to questions, prompting the 38-year old to comment on just how difficult a crowd it was to face.
"You guys sure do ask the tough questions," Randolph said."This is great, and I just hope we keep asking these questions so that we can make sure we're focusing on the things we want to see addressed in the House and beyond as a party."
For Brandon's Alice Brayton, a long time Democrat from Republican roots and a retired schoolteacher, hearing what Randolph had to say about unions and matters concerning the educational system was informative and satisfying.
"I don't think he left any questions unanswered," Brayton said. "This was one of the best meetings I've been to. I'm a loyal Democrat, so I agree with pretty much everything he said, but it's good to see him come out here and answer questions from the crowd."