• Sine Die
    • Lessons Learned
    • Making The Jump
    • Representative Mariano
    • For Those Still Inside The Nest

Via Instagram @ambermariano

Via Instagram @ambermariano

From Falcon to State Representative: The Amber Mariano Story

November 5, 2018

The room is silent, anxiously stand are 160 of Florida’s most powerful individuals surrounding a white handkerchief, straining to hear they had reached the end of a tumultuous day. Suddenly, the silence is broken, and as the words Sine Die cross the one bold enough to speak, two fingers gently release the handkerchief and it flutters back down to Earth, seemingly unknowing of its significance. At that moment, the normally calm rotunda of the Florida Capitol erupts into an uproar of cheers, laughter, and tears; friend and opponent alike hug and shake hands as a sense of pride and relief overcomes them.

    For some, this marks the end of an eight year journey, for others this is only one milestone of the bright future ahead of them.

    For Fivay High School Alumni Amber Mariano, it was the latter. Just hours before the closing of the Florida state legislative session with its annual Sine Die ceremony, Mariano was able to pass her first bill (giving full funding of Florida Bright Futures), a goal that takes some legislators their entire maximum term of eight years to achieve.

    “Passing my bill took a lot of work.” Representative Mariano shares, “I thought that my bill was going to die and I was going to have to try again next session, but luckily that day we got it through.”

Amber Mariano

Via Instagram @ambermariano

Amber Mariano

Defying the odds has always been synonymous with the name Amber Mariano, the fighting spirit of never being defeated can be seen as far back as her time at Fivay. During her time at Fivay, Mariano played and was captain for three sports, Editor in Chief of the Fivay yearbook for two years, NHS President, and participated in numerous other clubs. But one of the biggest lessons she would learn at Fivay would not come from the titles she held, but the times she fell short of reaching her goals.

    “When I was at Fivay I ran for student government several times, and everytime I ran I lost. I ran against my friend and I ran against my cousin.” Laughing Mariano adds, “My cousin ran against me can you believe that? But each time I lost it taught me how to handle defeat and how to face rejection, which has helped me a lot later on in life.”

    One of the hardest rejections, however, would come from college applications. Her senior year, Mariano would apply to 18 different schools, including her dream school of Harvard. For her, college was supposed to take her out of state, but fate kept her in Florida. It would be her decision to stay in-state and go to University of Central Florida that would help make her the youngest representative in Florida’s history.

Amber Mariano

Via Instagram @ambermariano

Amber Mariano

While at UCF pursuing a degree in Political Science, a professor would recommend Mariano take an internship in Tallahassee.

    “I had already interned with Senator Marco Rubio in Washington, D.C. so I applied to intern in Tallahassee thinking ‘what could I learn in here that I didn’t already learn in D.C.’, but that was extremely naive of me because I really learned a lot there. I was be placed with a representative out of UCF’s district and one day he told me that he was moving over districts and asked if anyone wanted to take his seat and so I told him I did. I filed to run there and after some time I had gotten on the ballot and gotten all my signatures, but I didn’t feel right not representing the area I lived and grew up in and so I made the move and ran at home in West Pasco.

    Though she had moved to her home district, polls had her behind 12 points an almost insurmountable number by political metrics. Mariano was determined though, working tirelessly to close the gap between her and her opponent. So much so that turning 21 a few weeks before election day, she had to put her own birthday on hold to campaign. Her work would pay-off, and slowly that number became so small that going into election day it was unclear who would emerge the winner of the election.

    When polls closed at 7, anticipation and suspense would build until she received the call that she had won a seat in District 36 of the Florida House of Representatives, and she would serve as the youngest representative in the state’s history.

    “Nothing will ever compare to election night,” Representative Mariano beams, “nothing could ever top that feeling.”

    And so once more, Mariano would find herself standing before the big wooden doors leading into the House, except this time the Sergeants at Arms would be opening those doors for her, and she would have her own blue chair waiting for her at a desk adorned with a placard reading “Mariano 36”.Via Instagram @ambermariano

Amber Mariano

Via Instagram @ambermariano

Amber Mariano

“Everyday feels so surreal, I look up and sometimes say ‘how am I here?’, but my favorite part of this all is when you do the pledge.” Mariano shares, “It just feels so patriotic and just adds so much more to it, I love it, I constantly feel that I need to pinch myself or something.”

    From reciting the pledge before starting the school day, to reciting the pledge before session begins, Amber Mariano has been both passionate and inspiring to her constituents.

    “I really look up to Amber,” Fivay Senior Alexis Robinson states, “not just as my representative, but as a friend. I’ve been able to get to know her and see her personality. She has given me so much advice about life and insights as to what steps I should take in going to college and pursuing a degree.”

    Robinson had interned with Mariano’s office over the summer, and eventually she was offered a job working on her reelection. She as well as several other Fivay students, work on Mariano’s re-election campaign.

Amber Mariano

Via Instagram @ambermariano

Amber Mariano

To those at Fivay, Mariano’s statement is clear “Dream big. People are going to tell you no your entire life, they love to tell you no, and if you listen to them you’re never going to get anywhere. Work to make them say yes. Never give up, if I had listened to what people had told me I wouldn’t be here. I cannot pick one favorite moment of my two years being in office. It’s just been two years of everyday being amazing, days that I would have otherwise not had if I had not worked for towards my dream. Of course there are bad days, but there is always such a great opportunity in front of you you have to make the most of it.”

    With a freshman year in the House including greeting the President as he disembarked Air Force One, as well as passing legislation that takes a career to see through, many of her constituents as well as Fivay students are eager to see what future years hold for her as she campaigns for her second term. With the powerful lessons learned at Fivay, as well as an unstoppable work ethic coupled with big dreams she sets for herself and the state, many hope that come her final Sine Die, the mark of Amber Mariano on life in Florida will be irreplaceable.Scott Keeler Tampa Bay Times

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




THE TALON • Copyright 2018 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in