Audubon Florida News

Topic: Quality Time



Quality Time with Representative Elizabeth Porter – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on September 5, 2012 in Quality Time

Representative Elizabeth Porter (R – Lake City) represents portions of Alachua, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Suwannee counties. Her district has experienced no shortage of controversial water issues over the last year or so. As a valued member of several environmental committees in the Legislature (Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, State Affairs Committee and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations) she has demonstrated her love of the environment and her desire to address important water-related issues. Please enjoy this edition of Quality Time:

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

Getting HB 157, the Water Management District Cooperation bill, passed unanimously passed in the House, and bringing to the forefront of conversation, the need for Water Management District to work as a single entity on water management practices. Our management and conservation methods need to benefit us as a State and not pit areas of the state against each other in “water wars”.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

My parents are the source of most of the good advice I’ve received over the years. But by far the best advice has been to be honest, straight forward and true to my values.

Are you active on Facebook and/or Twitter?

Facebook, only professionally, and Twitter, definitely not. I’m not a big proponent of social sites, in general. My life as a Representative, mother, wife and business owner is very busy and complicated. I have to try to simplify it in other areas where I can. I prefer to spend that time with family and friends.

What is the favorite outdoor activity for you and your family that you enjoy doing together?

Boating on the Santa Fe River, spending time on the beach with our dogs, and scalloping out of Horseshoe Beach.

How about state parks or other  areas…any favorites?

We love Vilano Beach. It is much quieter than most other beaches, AND we can take the dogs!

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I miss being anonymous! I could easily be a hermit and spend every day simply working in my yard and home and taking care of my family and pets.

Read any good books lately?

Do landscaping books count?

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

This is easy! A whole day on a deserted island, no phone, no TV, no electronics. Just bright sunshine, waves, the beach and a picnic basket to share with my family and dogs.

And last but not least, if you were “Queen for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

HB 157 from the 2012 session (Water Management District Cooperation bill). But since I’m NOT Queen for a day, I’ve filed it already for the 2013 session!

Quality Time with Senator Thad Altman – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on August 7, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

This week’s edition of Quality Time features Senator Thad Altman, a Republican representing Melbourne on Florida’s beautiful Space Coast! Quality Time is a great way to learn what some of our most important legislators are like outside the Capitol in Tallahassee. Take a moment to connect with Senator Altman and let us know what you think on FacebookEnjoy:

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment of the 2012 Session was passing many pieces of legislation that benefit our veterans and active duty service members.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

Trust in God. My parents and grandparents gave me that advice.

You seem to have a large following on Facebook and Twitter. Do you do your own social networking?

Yes I do.

Connect with Sen. Altman:

You have long been considered a supporter of land conservation in general; particularly the Florida Forever program. Do you have a favorite parcel of land or park or management area that you could share with us?

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Read any good books lately?

Marley and Me

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I am part Cherokee Indian.

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

Hiking or snorkeling with my family.

And last but not least, if you were “King for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

I would pass an omnibus conservation bill that would protect Florida’s natural resources now and for future generations.

Quality Time with Representative Mark Pafford – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on July 9, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

This week’s “Quality Time” profile features Representative Mark Pafford (D), who represents parts of Palm Beach County. Always willing to listen and learn, Rep. Pafford takes the prize for accessibility during the Legislative session as he strives  to hear all sides of an issue before taking it on. We count ourselves lucky that he frequently comes down on our side when it comes to environmental issues. No doubt his constituents already know this about him whether through Facebook, Twitter or walking through the front door of his District office! See what you can learn from his answers below and comment below or tell us what you think on our Facebook Page. Enjoy:

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

Proudest moments are unique, especially when you work in the minority caucus.  That said, my proudest moments come when I join other legislators fiercely defending Florida’s voiceless against what often seems to be a legislative agenda rooted in greed. I am often most proud when I see a Republican colleague risk sanctions because he or she spoke out and genuinely defended their own point of view.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

“Now that you are elected, don’t drink the Kool-Aid” – Mayor Sam Ferreri, Greenacres, Florida

You seem to have a large following on Facebook and Twitter. Do you do your own social networking?

Yes, I do. I enjoy the give and take that comes with speaking to the people I represent. I try to make myself available to anybody from my district; flexibility is very important.

You list hiking and outdoor activities as some of your many interests. Do you have a favorite place or park that you like to go to?

Everglades National Park is a favorite of mine. Although habitat destruction and development has brightened the nighttime skies and mangroves grow further north (past Nine Mile Pond), it remains a special place. There is no other place on Earth as unique. Visiting reminds me that my work in the legislature is important, and my voice is important.

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I love seeing people smile, but I hate telling jokes.

Read any good books lately?

State Rankings 2011, A Statistical View of America” – CQ Press

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

Secluded with my family, December-March, Long Pine Key

And last but not least, if you were “King for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

The Legislature would mirror, exactly, the partisan composition of Florida, backed by campaign finance reform. That way, the average Floridian is better insulated from political gamesmanship, ego and greed

Quality Time with Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on June 26, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda is the epitome of energy! Whether it involves a push for energy-related legislation or her own daily energetic schedule, this Capital city area (Leon, Gadsden & Jefferson Counties) legislator knows no limits! See what you think as you check out this week’s Quality Time profile and let us know on our Facebook Page! Enjoy:

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

Persuading Governor Rick Scott and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Denise Grimsley to continue funding Jefferson Correctional Institute. A small and dedicated group of us were able to work together to prevent what would have been a terrible economic blow to the Jefferson County community. We succeeded in changing their minds by each bringing a different perspective to the Governor and Chairwoman, and we received overwhelming support from the men and women of Jefferson County, proving once again that when a community rallies together in common purpose great things can be accomplished.

What subject do you teach at Tallahassee Community College and what is the most memorable question a student has ever asked you?

I have been a professor of legal studies at Tallahassee Community College for twenty-five years. Teaching has been the privilege of my life, for what could be better than helping to secure a brighter future for our children? Over those twenty-five years, I have had the pleasure of interacting with countless students, each one with a unique perspective and a different life experience. The most memorable thing a student has ever said to me was not a question at all. A blind student came to me and told me something that served as yet another reminder of why I teach: “I love taking your online classes; they have made me much more comfortable than any of the traditional classes. In a classroom, I get nervous, self-conscious, don’t make friends, and feel unbalanced because I don’t know where the voices are coming from in the room. Taking your class online has allowed me to really engage through discussion boards and interact with other students in ways that would never be possible for me in a traditional classroom.”

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

My mother used to say, “Stick to your own convictions.” I have tried my best to live by that that motto every day. When you stick to your own convictions, you can be proud and stand tall after any decision—no matter the outcome or the difficulty—because you acted according to your own deeply held beliefs. My mom’s advice is even more important in elected service. The legislature confronts very complicated and challenging issues during every session. After you have read all of the briefing materials, consulted all of the experts, and spoken to all of the sponsors, you are left with your own personal convictions. Being a legislator is about making tough decisions; it is about doing what you believe is right, not what you know is easy.

You seem to have a large following on Facebook and Twitter. Do you do your own social networking?

I use Facebook and Twitter more and more, particularly to advocate for policy positions or make announcements. Occasionally, my staff will tweet or put an announcement on Facebook, but I try to stay as directly connected with my followers as I can. I have found that social media allows me to reach a much wider group of people that I may not be reaching through more traditional media. Social media use will only grow as the months and years go on, making it a vital part of the communication process.

Click here to connect with Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda:

Where is your favorite place to hike?

Some of my favorite places to hike are Torreya State Park, here in the Panhandle, or the beaches in Sarasota. My husband Mike and I are very active and enjoy hiking and walking in locations large and small and as diverse as the Highline in New York or the Moors of Devon, England.

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

If I knew I could not fail, I would run for President of the United States.

Read any good books lately?

As an avid reader, I have read many great books. I have particular interest in World War II-era nonfiction. I’m currently reading Before They Were Black Sheep by my good friend Pete Dunbar. The book is a collection of letters that Pete’s dad sent home during WWII. Pete’s editing makes the letters more than just correspondence with family; it connects the reader to the struggle the war-time soldier faced. Before Pete’s book I read Churchill Speaks, a collection of the great Prime Minister’s speeches over sixty-six years, from the beginning of his political career to his twilight years. I also love Under Cover by John Roy Carlson, which was first published in 1943 as an account of the journalist’s work fighting against subversive, anti-American forces working in the United States during the War. More than anything, his true story highlights the public relations efforts that Hitler and the Axis powers launched within our own borders. Finally, I still love Sneeches by Dr. Seuss. The book teaches a universal and ageless lesson: people strive so hard for one thing only to realize that they had everything they wanted and needed already. It reminds all of us, young and old, to stop and take a look around at how blessed we really are.

And last but not least, if you could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

I would push through a truly comprehensive energy package. Florida has all of the tools necessary to be number one in renewable energy production as well as energy conservation and efficiency. If we commit to it, we can level the playing field and truly open the energy market to real and fair competition. Utility rates would fall; our environment would be cleaner and safer; construction on new projects would increase; new companies would create thousands of new jobs. All of this could come from one commitment to a comprehensive strategy in one sector of our economy. Imagine what could happen if we were able to work together to bring the same kinds of policies to other sectors.

 

Quality Time with Senator Paula Dockery – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on June 18, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Sometimes term limits backfire and result in good Legislators having to exit out. Such is the case with Senator Paula Dockery (R), a true friend of the environment who has been representing (and fighting for) parts of Polk, Sumter, Hernando, Lake and Osceola counties for the past 16 years. With this week’s Quality Time profile, we say goodbye to Senator Dockery and reflect upon her many accomplishments. Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page!

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

Stopping bad legislative policy from passing.  I played mostly defense.  Prison privatization and the so called “parent trigger” bills were terrible policy and through a lot of research and educating, we were able to form coalitions to prevent their passage.

We really hate to see you leave the Legislature! What would you say was your proudest accomplishment over the course of your distinguished 16-year career?

Voting my conscience, even when it meant being politically punished by “leadership”. As for legislative efforts specifically, sponsoring Florida Forever and forming a broad coalition to craft Senate Bill 444 – Water Sustainability.  Being recognized by Governing Magazine, a national publication, for building those coalitions on SB 444 was a very special event.

But, most importantly, being told by my constituents that they really don’t want me to leave office is the very best accomplishment of all.

Have you got some plans for the future that you would be willing to share with us?

After 16 years in the Legislature, I am looking forward to a hiatus to enjoy traveling with my wonderful (retired) husband. I do plan to do some TV political analysis.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

Try to listen to all sides of an issue, ask questions, do your homework and vote your conscience which came from a variety of family members and friends.

You are regarded as one of the founders of today’s Florida Forever program! Any chance you have a favorite parcel of land or park or management area as a result of that program?

It was my honor to work with then House Environmental Protection committee staff director, Wayne Kiger, to write the Florida Forever Bill. Our goal was to make the land purchases more science based and less politically driven. I love all the lands that help ensure a quality water supply and that offer “the real Florida” for recreational opportunities.  Colt Creek is near and dear to my heart.

You seem to have a large following on Face Book (5001) and Twitter (3362). Do you do your own social networking?

I do!

Read any good books lately?

Oh yes!  Anything by Carl Hiassan, Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham. I will be starting “The Swamp” when my husband finishes with it.  My favorite book is “A Land Remembered”

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I bartended my way through college. I knew nothing about the environment prior to being appointed chairman of the Environmental Protection committee in 1998.

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

Outside on a boat, on a beach, on a hike or on a bike!

And last but not least, if you could have passed any bill in the Legislature during your tenure with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

Ethics Reform

 

Quality Time with Representative Steve Perman – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on June 11, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Can you name one Legislator that successfully passed two good environmental bills this past session? We can! Representative Steve Perman (D), who represents portions of Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties, brought us recognition of “Everglades Day” and a greater appreciation for dispersed water storage as a creative way to manage and protect water supplies. As a member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee and the Select Committee on Water Policy, Rep. Perman has a good understanding of the environmental issues affecting his district and a willingness to do something about it! Please enjoy this week’s edition of Quality Time and let us know what you think on our Facebook page. Thank you Rep. Perman!

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

I am very proud of the passage of two of the bills I personally sponsored, CS/HB 1389 (Water Quality and Storage) and CS/SB 924/HB 1105 (Everglades Day).

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

“Success comes from you, not to you. Who you are and how you show up determines how well what you do works.” –Dr. Dennis Perman (my brother)

Are you active on Facebook and/or Twitter?

I have a Facebook page– “Re-Elect-Steve-Perman-for-State-Representative” Please “like” it.

What is your favorite state park?

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo. Incredible snorkeling!

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

For 10 years (1987-97), in addition to my chiropractic practice, I served as one of 12 International Training Supervisors (“Master Trainers”) in the organization run by self-help/motivational expert Tony Robbins. I have extensive credentials in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and hypnotherapy.

Read any good books lately?

I love legal fiction, detective stories and western fiction. I’ve read everything Robert B. Parker has written and also I read all of William A. Johnstone’s western novels.

I see where you list the guitar as one of your interests. Is that a solo thing or do you play music with others?

I’ve been playing guitar consistently for over 40 years–you name it, rock, jazz, blues, etc. Currently, and for the past 8 years, I have been with an 18-piece big band, handling both guitar and male vocals.

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

Seeing the Yankees win game-7 for the American League pennant over the Red Sox while enjoying an adult beverage on the beach in St. Martin as I’m being notified that I just won the Power Ball lottery. Heaven!!

And last but not least, if you were “King for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

Repealing and rescinding any legislation that interferes with or prevents any citizen from easily registering and voting.

Quality Time with Representative Alan Williams – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on June 5, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Representative Alan Williams (D) represents parts of the beautiful North Florida counties of Leon and Gadsden and maintains a District office in the Capitol year round. Never shy about voicing concerns and questions when bills arise, he has long been a friend on the House State Affairs Committee and the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee. Make sure you check out his “wish list” in the last question and tell us if you agree! Comment below or on Facebook. Enjoy!

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

I am proud to have worked on a bipartisan effort as the ranking Democrat on the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee to pass an energy bill for the first time in four years that puts Florida back on the map concerning energy policy and direction.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

My daughter (age 13) once told me to “Look backwards but stay focused on where you are going” There are so many meanings in that short phrase that I have never forgotten it!

My son (at age 4 but now 8 years old) also asked me one day “Where is the future” and I am also guided by that!

You seem to have a large following on Face Book (3883) and Twitter (2478). Do you do your own social networking?

I do all of my own posts on Face Book and Twitter. I think it is an important way to stay engaged with friends and constituents. And I particularly like the way it enables me to get good feedback for what is happening and what is important to people in my District (8).

Tell us about your service on the Board of the Tallahassee Boys Choir. Does this mean you are a singer or a supporter…or both?

I no longer serve on the Board of the Boys Choir but I am a big believer and supporter of what they do. I was a singer myself in my church choir (back when I had an angelic voice) and I know firsthand the importance of being with your peers when singing in a group like this. The Tallahassee Boys Choir has been very successful and gives many deserving youth an opportunity to showcase their talents and be cool all at the same time!

What is the favorite recreational activity for you and your family that you enjoy doing together?

We enjoy everything from playing soccer in the back yard, to going to our kids’ sporting events to traveling to cities and historic places to see what we can learn.

Read any good books lately?

Back to that social media question…I stay very busy with emails, Face Book and Twitter so I have some trouble finding time to read and finish books. That said, the last book I read was “Lead like Jesus” by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. And I have a stack of books on my night stand waiting to be read! I am also very proud that my children have embraced reading!

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

A perfect day for me would be to wake up with my family (both immediate and extended), do some fun activities together and then have a nice lunch somewhere. Afterwards we would relax with friends and wind down with lots of laughing and more relaxing. Oh…and I would tweet all this too!

And last but not least, if you were “King for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

I would make sure the real priorities of the state of Florida are met fully. By that I mean: education would be fully funded, health care would be provided for our seniors and children, the environment would be adequately funded, state & public employees would be given raises and paid what they are worth and our teachers’ salaries would be raised to three times the national average for teacher salaries!

Quality Time with Senator Eleanor Sobel – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on May 30, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Senator Eleanor Sobel (D) from beautiful Hollywood in Broward County is this week’s featured Legislator. A long time member of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee, Senator Sobel has always been a strong supporter of the environment. Her willingness to take a stand has earned her a reputation for being formidable… not to mention fun to watch in action!  Let us know what you think in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page.

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is passing a patient protection bill that will improve the safety of patients receiving liposuction treatment and being a part of the team that helped kill prison privatization.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

The best advice I ever received is to tell the truth which came from my parents.

Two years ago, you had a bill addressing tattoo artists. Did you ever get a tattoo as part of your research on the bill?

No.  I guess I am an old fashioned girl.

Read any good books lately?

The Politician by Andrew Young and also The Fugitive’s Doctor by Deidre-Elizabeth Parker ( this book was actually about  a constituent issue )

What would be the perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

To see Democrats in charge of Tallahassee!

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you?

As a  pre-teen, I was  a regular  dancer on Alan Freed’s TV dance show called, “the Big Beat.”  This show was the New York version of American Bandstand created by Dick Clark, who recently passed.  I had to drop out because my parents could not afford to buy me  a T.V. wardrobe, especially a new green boat neck sweater.  I was very sad, but in reflecting on that, I didn’t realize then just how hard they worked .

And last, but not least, if you were “Queen for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

I would pass a bill that would permanently respect women’s rights and the needs of working families.

Quality Time with Representative Steve Crisafulli – A Look Beyond The Capitol

posted on May 22, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Audubon’s Mary Jean Yon presents today’s “Quality Time” profile feature with Representative Steve Crisafulli, a Republican representing the Brevard & Orange County area. Rep. Crisafulli plays a key role in many environmental issues as Chair of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee. An open door and a willingness to listen to all sides have long been characteristics of his that we admire. Let us know what you think in the comment section below or on our Facebook Page. Enjoy!

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

  • My proudest accomplishment, personally, was to continue to sponsor and pass legislation that streamlines the way that government runs.  I was able to accomplish this by passing the Statewide ERP (Environmental Resource Permitting) bill for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the DACS (Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) bill, and the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) bill, along with voting for numerous other pieces of legislation that also streamlined state government.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

  • “The right decision may not always be the most popular.” My grandfather Vassar B. Carlton, a former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, gave me that advice.

What is the favorite outdoor activity for you and your family that you enjoy doing together?

  • My favorite outdoor activity to participate in with my family is hunting.  From the time I could walk, I grew up hunting with my grandfather, father, and brother.  Still to this day, I hunt with my father and brother and have now started to share this time in the outdoors with my two daughters.

There is a rich history of citrus throughout your family. Any remnants of that business left?

  • Yes, there is, but not nearly as much as there once was.  Disease and extreme weather conditions over the years have certainly been a large contributor to the demise of citrus on our properties.  Many of our properties are now improved pasture for the family cattle operation.

Are you active on Facebook and/or Twitter?

  • I do not have a Twitter account and occasionally update followers on my Facebook page about things that are happening in the Legislature or in and around Brevard and Orange Counties.

Read any good books lately?

  • I am currently reading the Hunger Games.  My oldest daughter asked if I would read it; she has read it several times and felt that I would enjoy it.  The opportunity to read something that I could converse with her on was something that I felt was important for our relationship.  Ironically, politics plays into the book’s storyline, so it has been fun to talk with her about her views of the book.

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

  • A perfect day for me would be a mid-April day, with my family, in the foothills of Colorado, on horseback with my family beside me, no cell phones, and no worries of when we would have to be home.

And last but not least, if you were “King for a Day” and could pass any bill in the Legislature with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

  • If I could pass one bill with no opposition, it would be a bill to consolidate all state lands into one agency that would be responsible for the management of Forestry, Wildlife, Greenways & Trails and Parks.  I believe that there is a way to do this without jeopardizing the intended uses of these lands.  While the details are still to be worked out, I feel as if there is an opportunity to do this in the future that would produce better results in terms of the management of state lands for the taxpayers of Florida.  This will be something I continue to work on in the coming years, given the opportunity to be re-elected to represent my district.

Quality Time with Representative Dana Young

posted on April 30, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Welcome back to our second installment of Quality Time, produced by Audubon’s Mary Jean Yon. Today’s guest is Representative Dana Young, a Republican from the always beautiful Tampa Bay area. Representative Young was featured on our blog in recent months for her hard work during the 2012 Legislative Session. Let us know what you think in the comment section below or on our Facebook PageEnjoy:

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

As a Legislature, I’m proud that we were able to continue our work from the prior session in passing bills that collectively create a better business climate here in Florida. By easing the tax burden on businesses, bringing some rationality to the regulatory process, and providing re-employment training to unemployed Floridians, I believe we can make Florida one of the most business-friendly states in the nation.

In terms of my own bills – I’m proud of them all! My proudest accomplishment of the 2012 Session is the passage of HB 639, which incentivizes local governments to invest in reclaimed water treatment and distribution systems by providing them with needed certainty and predictability in the regulatory process. The result is conservation of our precious drinking water supply. This bill was a “work in progress” beginning in the summer of 2011, and ultimately gained the support from all of the stakeholders:  local governments, the environmental community, the agricultural community, and the business community. Until you’ve been involved in the legislative process, it’s hard to truly appreciate how unique it is for a bill to win support from such a diverse coalition. I’m proud to have been able to maintain an on-going dialog and working relationship with all of these groups, and to ultimately create an excellent final product. Just a couple of weeks after the bill passed, the City of Tampa announced a massive expansion of its reclaimed water system, which will save about 22,000 gallons of drinking water per day.  That’s exciting!

You seem to have a large following on Facebook (2071) and Twitter (814). Do you do your own social networking?

Yes – I love to Tweet and I do it all myself. Social media – Twitter and Facebook – bring a wonderful opportunity for me to communicate directly, and in real time, with my constituents. I continually update the folks back home on what is happening in Tallahassee, and what I’m doing in the District and around the state. The feedback has been incredible. People say, “we feel like we know what you are doing all the time!” which I translate to mean “we know you are working!”

You can follow me on Twitter by adding @repdanayoung.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

Two things.

First, I try to live my life by the very simple rule of treating other people the way I want to be treated – with kindness and respect. I think it’s somewhat uncommon in the political world, but it allows me to be a generally happy person and sleep well at night.

Second, the best political advice I ever got was from my Grandfather, the late Sen. Randolph Hodges. His advice was to be honest with people, and to always keep your word, because at the end of the day, your word is all you have – make sure it means something.

Read any good books lately?

I read every night, even during Session. Right now, I’m reading the 5th book in the Game of Thrones series.  My kids want me to read The Hunger Games, so I may do that next.

What is the favorite family recreational activity in the Young family?

My family is the textbook Florida Sportsman family. We love sportfishing, and spend most of the summer on the boat fishing for Tarpon. In the winter months, we focus on deer and turkey hunting and generally enjoy being in the woods and a good campfire. My daughters are both accomplished archers, and my 14 year old has proven to be a skilled hunter. Its fun to watch them grow up doing the same things I loved to do as a young girl.

With two young daughters at home, do you ever get to practice your mediator skills with them?

Oh my goodness, yes! They are so close in age that everything is a negotiation around our house. Having two teenage daughters at home makes dealing with the Legislature seem easy!

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I’m a 6th generation Floridian with a very deep agricultural history. My family came to Florida on an ox cart a long, long time ago, and settled on an island in the salt marshes near Crystal River. They eventually moved to Cedar Key, and made a living fishing and raising cattle. When I read A Land Remembered, it had a very special meaning for me, because it tells the story of the Florida that my ancestors helped to settle. While I represent a fairly urban area of Tampa in the Florida House, I will never forget my deep history and agricultural roots in this state that I love so much.

Next »