The Freshman Class
The Florida House gets 35 new members. All seven new senators served in the House. Here's a roundup.
New House members sworn into office by Judge John Stargel: (from left) Rachel Burgin, John Wood, Marlene O'Toole, Eric Eisnaugle and Kelli Stargel [Photo: Florida House of Representatives]
Thanks to term limits, there are plenty of fresh faces in Tallahassee this year. The seven new state senators are all veterans of the Florida House of Representatives, but Florida voters elected 35 new lawmakers to the lower chamber.
The new House members include a funeral home director (Ken Roberson), a port security specialist (Joseph Abruzzo), two who work at Take Stock in Children, an organization that rewards low-income, at-risk children with merit-based and standards-based scholarships (Marlene O’Toole and Mike Weinstein), a political science professor (John Tobia) and an osteopathic physician (Ronald “Doc” Renuart).
The youngest new lawmaker in Tallahassee is 26-year-old Republican Rachel Burgin. Burgin doesn’t have a college degree — nor does she own a home — but she’s no stranger to politics. She has worked as a White House intern and more recently was an aide to Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair.
Several new lawmakers are related to former members. Republican Kelli Stargel of Lakeland won the seat that her husband, circuit Judge John Stargel, held until 2006, when he decided to run for a seat on the bench. Republican Deborah Mayfield of Vero Beach won the seat held by her late husband, former Rep. Stan Mayfield. Democrat Dwight Bullard of Miami won the seat that belonged to his father, Ed Bullard.