Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the accomplishments of a true champion of progress, Chloe J. Coney. She is retiring this month after 10 years of serving as my district director in Tampa. Her invaluable contributions to the Tampa Bay community are an inspiration to us all. Today, I am grateful to recognize her selfless dedication, honor her valuable service to our community and thank her for her daily efforts to serve our neighbors in Tampa.
Known as a “woman who wears many hats,” Mrs. Coney is a leader who serves with a spirit of love and excellence. When federal courts ordered Hillsborough County to desegregate its school system, even at an early age, Mrs. Coney became a leader. In 1963, she along with a brave few helped to integrate the school district. In turn, Mrs. Coney attended and graduated from Hillsborough High School with honors in 1968. Her determination to lead and serve pushed her achieve a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Corrections from Florida A & M University, a master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Florida Beacon Bible College, and an honorary doctorate from Blessed Hope Bible College in Tampa, Florida.
Mrs. Coney’s passion to lead and serve has followed her throughout her professional and personal career. In 1972, Mrs. Coney began her career as the first Black female Probation and Parole Officer in Hillsborough County. She would then continue as a pathbreaker by becoming Intake Counselor/Mediator with the 13th Judicial Circuit Court of Hillsborough County and Marketing Representative for Florida Power in Clearwater, Fla. She left the private sector in her calling to serve families, seniors and students as the Center Manager of the Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center, leading the way for it to become a “One Stop” Social and Medical Center in Hillsborough County. She utilized her role as Center Manager to restore pride, ownership, and community in Tampa’s Eastside neighborhoods. Mrs. Coney established the East Tampa Community School partnership and the Back to School Kick-off Fair. Mrs. Coney’s passion inspired her to found the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (CDC) in 1992 and become its first President/CEO, focusing on economic development. The CDC of Tampa’s Nehemiah Project Community Building “Brick by Brick” has since expanded its strategic initiatives to provide job training, promote entrepreneurship and develop youth leadership programs, revitalizing commercial areas and build affordable housing.
In 2006, Mrs. Coney retired as the President of the CDC of Tampa to become a candidate for local office. While she missed out on the opportunity to serve as Hillsborough County Commission, District 3, she found a new way to lead and serve the community as my District Director. In this capacity, she has addressed an array of constituent concerns, solicited citizen input, and performed community outreach activities, such as foreclosure prevention workshops during the economic downturn to help families stay in their homes and job fairs during the economic recovery to connect neighbors with local jobs. As District Director, Chloe Coney, will retire after serving the Tampa Bay community for more than 40 years, improving entire communities, leveraging economic impact and touching the lives of everyone she meets.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the citizens of the Tampa Bay community, I am proud to honor Mrs. Chloe J. Coney. We will miss her wisdom and experience, but most of all we will miss the encouragement she has been to us all. As Chloe would say “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work,” and I am proud that she has been part of my team and, importantly, my friend – helping so many of our neighbors achieve their dreams.