Former County Commissioner Rose Rocco passed away last week at the age of 78 after a lengthy battle with cancer and was eulogized at Brewer’s Memorial Chapel on Mariner Blvd. Tuesday at 6PM. A packed crowd of about a hundred mourners watched a slideshow display of Rose from bygone days when she was the driving force behind Project: PRIDE, and from her eventful tenure as a Spring Hill county commissioner from 2007 until 2010. Commissioner Rocco was actually elected to the board in 2006 in a stunning upset of fourteen year veteran board member, Nancy Robinson. Robinson had switched from Democrat to Republican and Rocco from Republican to Democrat, making for a fascinating campaign of dueling accusations. After Rose acknowledged to the press on Election night that she did not yet live in her commission district, Robinson hired a team of lawyers and sued Rocco to regain her seat. The law was ambivalent at the time as to residency requirements and after an expensive and protracted court battle, Rocco was finally sworn into office in January 2007.
Rose voted to reduce taxes almost twenty-five percent her first two years in office and after the economy crashed she became an outspoken advocate for the disadvantaged in south Brooksville and for public transportation. Rose Rocco’s time in elected office was literally the best of times and then the worst of times for Hernando County. On her last day in office in November of 2010, a fellow commissioner serenaded her by singing Country Roads, rewritten as Country Rose to a standing ovation for a lovely lady, all of us will miss—Rose Rocco.