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 Page. Enjoy:
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?
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?
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.