She grew up just outside of Miami's Little Havana. Her dad, a store manager, sickened, lost his job, his health insurance, and died while Mary was in high school. She learned what it was like when life is tough. She worked in fast food. She worked as a maid, dishwasher, waitress, bartender. She remembers the low wages, she remembers the sexual harassment. She was fortunate in her mother -- who was a military veteran and could provide some support. She was fortunate in her talent and her drive. She went to the University of Miami intending to learn how to conduct an orchestra. She got a law degree instead. She become a federal public defender She was elected to Florida's state court -- the state's eleventh circuit.
David Shapiro's father prospered building houses during Florida's continuing housing boom. David Shapiro went to law school. He stayed local. He thrived, as well. Despite his prosperity, no one accuses him of being a member of the elite. He is a personal injury lawyer; has been for over thirty years. The firm has ten offices on the West Coast of Florida none in New York or Washington. Personal injury lawyers are rarely accused of being members of the elite.
Lauren Baer s a product of a Florida furniture family. She went to Harvard and graduated magna cum laude. She won a Marshall and went to Oxford. She went to Yale Law School. There are lots of opportunities for someone with that kind of pedigree. She clerked in the 2nd circuit of the US Court of Appeals and became an associate at Wilmer Hale doing international work. Lauren Baer worked for Hillary Clinton's and John Kerry's State Department. While working for Madeiline Albright in the private sector, she geared up for a Congressional Campaign.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and her sisters immigrated with their mother to California from Ecuador. Twenty years later, she left California for Florida. Married to a real estate figure, she made a career raising money for non-profits and universities. Her non-profit goals became her political goals -- curb climate change and its impact, ensure comprehensive health care, and create strong communities.
Bill Nelson went to the University of Florida where he became a member of Blue Key. He left for Yale and the University of Virginia Law School. In 1965 he came back to Florida and joined the US Army Reserve. After his widowed mother died, he went on active duty as a pilot. Notwithstanding his political successes, being elected to Congress and the Senate, there was nothing he loved more than flying. His greatest political commitment was to the US space program.
Annette Taddeo was born on an American military base in Colombia. She is the daughter of an American World War II and Korean War fighter pilot and a Colombian mother. At age seventeen, Annette Taddeo immigrated to the US on her own. She put herself through college on her own. She married psychologist Eric Goldstein, converted to Judaism, and has a family of his two children and one child of theirs. She founded LanguageSpeak, a language services company that offers translations in over 240 languages. Diversity Business describes LanguageSpeak as one of the top 100 small businesses in Florida and one of the top 500 Hispanic owned businesses in the United States. She has been a power in the Democratic Party. Chair of the Miami Democrats, she helped create Hispanic Democratic Clubs and initiated candidate recruitment in south Florida toward the goal of gaining seats in the Florida legislature. In 2013, the Democratic National Committee appointed her to leadership positions.
If resumes count, Nancy Soderberg would be elected to anything she ran for. She is CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions and Director of the Public Service Leadership Program at the University of North Florida.Soderberg is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a regular commentator on national and international television and radio. She is the author of numerous articles and two books on American foreign policy. She was Deputy National Security Advisor to President Clinton, senior advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy. President Obama appointed her as Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board (2011-2014). She has also served as President of Connect U.S. Fund, as Vice President of the International Crisis Group, and on the Board of the Jacksonville Port Authority.
Stephanie Dang Murphy has a BA from William and Mary and a Master's Degree from Georgetown. She had been a Department of Defense national security analyst and earned a medal for exceptional service after the 9/11 attack. She was the managing director of Sungate Capital, an investment and consulting firm. Her story is longer than that, though. Stephanie Dang Murphy was born in Ho Chi Minh City. Her parents were refugees who escaped from Vietnam by boat when she was an infant. They lived in refugee camps until they were able to come to the United States. She remembers her mother cleaning office buildings and banks at night, bringing her and her brother to work while she cleaned.