By: Dr. Kelli Criss
In our series, Faith in Florida, we aim to familiarize the faith community with candidates running for office in 2020 who uphold Judeo-Christian values. We posed four questions to leaders. Each blog shares a particular leader’s responses with you. We thank God for the service of these leaders and pray for them daily. Today, we profile State Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez.
Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez
Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez is running for Florida Senate District 39 covering all of Monroe County and part of southern Miami-Dade County. She has received the endorsement of Governor Ron DeSantis. Representative Rodriguez was elected to the District 105 seat in the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. As the Senior Vice President of the Miami Association of Realtors, she holds a BS in Communications from Florida International University and MS in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Representative Rodriguez resides in Doral, Florida with her husband, Dr. Clemente Canabal.
Who has greatly influenced your relationship with God, whether family, mentor, friend, faith leader, or public figure?
My parents have been the foundation of my relationship with God. From the moment I was born, they raised me with the fundamental belief that I was born with a God-given purpose and mission during my time on earth. When one is raised with and continues to live a purpose driven life, it makes everything so much more meaningful, especially if one chooses to follow a path of public service. For many years I suppressed my desire to run for public office, thinking I could and would make my mark in other aspects (which I did). However, a crossroads in my life (in 2010) presented the opportunity to run for public office. I prayed over it and then made the decision to run, which turned out to be fruitful since its brought me to where I am today. My decisions and votes as a public official have helped shape conservative public policy in our state, and I believe that because of my upbringing, especially my parents, I am where I am today.
Florida House Experience
How does your experience in the Florida House inform the goals you plan to pursue in the Florida Senate?
We made progress in many important areas of public policy over the last couple years as I’ve served in the Florida House. I will look to continue that work in the Florida Senate, especially in key areas like protecting our water supply and natural environment, expanding school choice programs, and supporting policies that allow the economy to expand and entrepreneurs to create more jobs.
What books are you reading currently?
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks. The book basically compares life to a series of mountains. The first mountain consists of financial or professional achievements, which may create a sense security, but not moral purpose. When we seek the “Second Mountain” in our lives, it’s to find a greater purpose than ourselves. In my case, I feel that I am on my “Second Mountain” as a public servant.
Public Policy Issues in Southeast Florida
What unique public policy issues exist in Senate District 39 or, more broadly, in southeast Florida which will need to be addressed in the next legislative session?
Fortunately, we’ve worked to address many of the issues that are particularly important in Southeast Florida and will continue to do so. Some examples include ensuring that we plan coastal communities in a resilient way going forward; making sure that private property rights are protected while balancing our communities’ needs as it relates to public policy around vacation rentals; investing in infrastructure to alleviate traffic congestion; investing in projects that will restore and protect our water quality and environment; and improving our natural disaster preparedness and relief efforts. These issues and many more are perpetual, and we must keep them in focus to ensure that progress is consistently made. Generally speaking, we must stay the course.
Getting to Know Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez
For more information about Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez, visit her Senate campaign website.
We’re excited to be profiling additional leaders who serve Florida’s faith community throughout the remainder of 2020. Be on the lookout for our Faith in Florida series. Visit the Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition website and read previous blogs to learn more about us.