Legislator of the Week: Florida State Representative Amber Mariano
This Week, ALEC and FreedomWorks introduce Florida State Representative Amber Mariano. Representative Mariano serves District 36 in the Florida House of Representatives, which includes Hudson, Port Richey, New Port Richey, and Holiday. Elected in 2016 at the age of 21, Rep. Mariano is the youngest State Representative to serve in Florida’s Legislature. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science specializing in American Politics and Policy. While serving in the Florida Legislature, Rep. Mariano is working to improve flooding issues in Pasco County and make the higher-education system more affordable and accessible. Rep. Mariano is currently the Fundraising Coordinator for CARES Community Aging and Retirement Services. She is also actively involved with PACE Center for Girls, Pasco, and is a member of the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
Why did you run for office?
I wanted to be president since I was six years old, so I have always wanted to run for office. However, growing up watching mainly men in positions of power, I never even thought it was possible until Sarah Palin become John McCain’s VP nominee. After that, I knew I wanted to run for sure. My dad has been a County Commissioner in Pasco County for most of my life, so I’ve grown up around politics. My dad is a good man and a true public servant, which showed me the good in politics and the nobility of the role of being elected to office.
In your view, what is the biggest issue facing Florida?
In my view, the biggest issue facing Florida is the lack of emphasis on technical education and the stigma that surrounds it.
If you could “wave your magic wand,” what would you like to see immediately implemented in Florida?
If I could wave a magic wand, I would like to see more technical education in our schools to help utilize the high-paying job opportunities for students with technical training.
Do you serve on any committees, if so which committees and why? How do you think you have impacted them?
I serve on the Education Committee, the Health Quality Subcommittee, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, the Joint Select Committee on Collective Bargaining, the Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee, and the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee. Education (higher education in particular) is definitely my strength and what I’m most passionate about, which is why I serve on many education committees and subcommittees. I think I’ve impacted these committees and the issues they deal with by taking my experience as a recent college student, the experiences and struggles of my friends and former classmates, and applying it to my work in helping the Florida legislature find solutions to improving and strengthening our state’s education system.
What project or law are you most proud of?
I am most proud of expanding Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program. The top tier of the qualifying scholars in this program are now able to attend Florida universities with 100% of their tuition and some fees paid for by the state and the tier below them with 75% covered. The college expenses of nearly 100,000 exceptional students will be slashed and this investment will keep these exceptional students in Florida schools. This will change the lives of students and their families and will give educational opportunity to young people who thought they’d never be able to afford to go to college.
How has ALEC helped you as a legislator?
ALEC has been a great tool for me to be able to meet other legislators across the country and compare what other states are doing to make the best possible policy solutions for Florida.
What is your favorite thing about living in Florida?
My favorite part about living in Florida is representing part of the Gulf Coast and being 5 minutes from the water!
Can you share a fun fact about yourself that’s not in your official bio?
I recently not only got to meet President Trump when he visited Florida, but also had the honor of greeting him on the tarmac after Air Force One landed. He told me that I’m going to be president someday!