Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, who has represented Florida’s 16th District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2008, faces Democratic challenger Will Bronson in the Nov. 6 general election for the newly drawn District 17, which encompasses all of Hardee, Desoto, Highlands, Okeechobee, Glades, and Charlotte counties and portions of Polk, Manatee, Hillsborough, and Lee counties.
After living in Palm Beach County during his first two terms, Rooney has said he will move his main office to Punta Gorda and live here if reelected to the House. It would mark the first time a sitting congressman has resided in Charlotte County. Rooney’s position on the House Agricultural Committee and his support of the passage of a long-stalled comprehensive farm bill is important to this area and its ag industry. As federal biofuel policies evolve away from a dependence of corn as the primary source for ethanol, Florida farmers will gain access to a new market for crops such as sorghum. Rooney’s influence on non-corn ethanol quotas and biofuel research and development will be critical.
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