How dedicated was Cesar Hernandez in trying to make a difference when he was student body president at USF three years ago? Dedicated enough to speak for 24 straight hours to call attention to a couple of policy issues that he disagreed with that were brewing in the state legislature.
He's now moving up the corridors of power, as Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione has just hired him to serve as her new legislative aide.
“Cesar is a perfect fit," says Montelione in a press release."He is definitely up for the challenge of working for the citizens of District 7, having worked in the area immediately adjacent to the district, as well as being a USF grad and Tampa Palms resident. I met him in 2011 when he was at USF and was tremendously impressed with his dedication and accomplishments as Student Body President."
Since he graduated the 27-year-old Hernandez had been working with the University Area Community Development Corporation as Community Engagement Officer, where he helped initiate the Prometheus Project, which attempted to reduce street crimes by using outreach workers, including ex-convicts and former gang members, to interrupt and mediate potentially violent conflicts between gangs.
And what about the issues that he felt so passionate about to go on a 24-hour filibuster three years ago?
Those were concerns about Governor Rick Scott cutting higher education spending, as well as a punitive immigration bill that was being moved quickly through the House and Senate that year.
Governor Scott went ahead with the education initiative, and with the Legislature's blessing, severely cut spending on Florida universities that year — and the next — to the tune of $303.7 million.
But his push for a punitive immigration bill ultimately went down in defeat, and hasn't been revived since.
When contacted by CL this afternoon, Hernandez said he was grateful and humbled to be working in city government. "With my background in community engagement and socio-economic development I hope to bring all my knowledge into this office and service the people that Councilwoman Montelione represents.”
District 7 encompasses Tampa Palms, Forest Hills, New and North Tampa.