BY BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN
Mark Rodriguez, an officer in the Libertarian Party of Pinellas County, has been appointed by the state chairman to represent Region 8. The appointment was made official during the Oct. 1 statewide meeting.
Rodriguez, the LPPC’s North Region rep, was asked several weeks ago by LPF chair Marcos Miralles to consider the position vacated when former rep J.D. Pierce stepped down. Rodriguez will hold the position until the state convention in February in Fort Walton Beach, when it will be voted on.
“I reached out to Mark because I think we need his style of leadership within the party,” Miralles said. “Mark is someone who is a leader within his community who focuses on empowering other individuals, and that is ultimately what Libertarians are all about.”
The new LPF Region 8 rep has been a busy guy this year. He was appointed to a seat on the City of Clearwater Parks and Recreation Board to begin to see the inside of municipalities first hand and learn how he could be effective. He also became the father of twins – a boy and a girl. He also has four grown daughters and one grandson.
“Why live a conventional life … that’s Alan Watts,” Rodriguez said.
Born and raised in New York, Rodriguez moved to Florida in the past decade and now resides in Clearwater. He works in Information Technology, and when he’s not working, with his kids, or with his LPPC brethren, he likes to play baseball for the St. Pete Rays in the CFA league.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, RODRIGUEZ DECIDED TO JOIN
Something truly struck him in the past year when it came to politics: There are so many people who don’t participate in the political process, and many who don’t vote at all. He’s determined not to be ‘that person’.
“I believe that every nation gets the government it deserves,” Rodriguez said. “So, if we want a better one, it starts with us, with how we vote, how we discuss our differences and how involved we get. This is our government … the easiest way to bring down a totem pole is to apply heat at the bottom. All politics is local.”
That’s why adding one more responsibility – the LPF Region 8 representative spot – was a no brainer.
“I spoke with Mark about the commitment and responsibility of being Region 8’s official representative well before he accepted the position,” LPPC chairman Daryle Hamel said. “It’s something he put a good deal of thought into and I’m confident he’ll rise to the occasion enhancing our region’s communication while addressing some shortcomings in affiliate development.”
Region 8 encompasses the entire Tampa Bay area – Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk Counties. Rodriguez will be in charge of maintaining communications with the active counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk, while continuing Pierce’s work of trying to build dormant affiliates at Hernando and Pasco.
According to the most recent numbers from the state (May 2017 report), Region 8 also is the top region in the state of Florida when it comes to registered Libertarians. Around 7,000 registered Libertarians live in Region 8, with the next highest being Region 9 (Orange, Brevard, Osceola and Seminole) with around 4,200 registered Libertarians. There are 14 regions.