Q: What advice do you have for 2013 graduating seniors?
A: I have three pieces of advice for the graduating seniors, the first of which is to find something you love doing and can actually see yourself doing for the rest of your life, regardless of any other motives which may persuade you to pursue another line of work. The work day is too long to do something you hate doing.
The second piece of advice is to think before you text, tweet, blog, post, or anything else where others may see something you write. If you don’t want your grandmother to see it, you probably shouldn’t write it.
The final piece of advice may be the most difficult to follow, but if at all possible try to avoid getting into a serious relationship early in life. High school graduates are at a point in their life where so much changes. The people they are after they graduate will not be the same as the people they will become in a year’s time and this change comes with life experience.
Q: Is there something you know now that you wish you could have known then?
A: I wish I had known how to better budget my money. I supported myself through college so I did a decent job of it, but I know there were areas I could have improved.
Q: What is the most important piece of legislation that has passed that affects the Florida Keys?
A: I believe the most important is in regards to keeping any additional rate increases for wind insurance fixed, so Keys residents don’t have to pay more and more money.
I was also successful in allocating funds to Keys projects in the state budget. I was able to increase funding for local projects and brought awareness to the Keys with events like Florida Keys Day.
Q: What is the most important part of legislation that has yet to pass or the most important project that you are working on in regards to how it affects the Keys?
A: The future wastewater plan and funding is very important. I was unsuccessful in acquiring the $50 million to fund the program this year, but I was able to bring home $2 million in cash and I was given clear directions from the governor’s office on how to get the $50 million next year.
On Monday, June 24, we will also be hosting a large insurance industry conference in Key West, where they will be given a tour of several properties so they we can display our strong buildings and up-to-date building code. Hopefully this will bring about some insurance cost reductions for our residents and business owners. After the event has concluded, there will be a town hall meeting to which everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.
Q: What does it mean to you to represent the Florida Keys in the House of Representatives?
A: Representing the Keys means I have the duty to carry the torch of bringing awareness to our island home. We live in a beautiful and unique area which is hard to compare to anywhere else in the world. With this distinction of individuality come the specific challenges of cost of living and limited resources. It is my responsibility to make sure our citizens are getting their fair share from Tallahassee.
Q: Is there anything that I haven’t asked you about that you would like to talk about?
A: I believe that it is our civic duty to introduce the next generation to the politics and events that are shaping their lives. Right now, we are in charge of their future and it is our responsibility to make sure they will be prepared to step into greater roles of influence when the time comes for us to pass the torch. The more they know today, the better prepared they will be tomorrow.
I know it might sound cliché, but it is an honor to represent the Keys and South Dade and I will continue to champion our causes. As the saying goes, the Keys really are the best place to work and play.
Blake McCarthy is the Weekly Newspaper’s summer intern. He is a student at Florida State University.