The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.

Today’s Q&A feature is Amber Mariano, Florida State Representative for the 36th District, which includes Pasco County. In November of 2016, At the age of 21 years old, she became the youngest person elected to the Florida House of Representatives. Mariano sits on the Education, Health Quality, and Higher Education committees. Amber earned her Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. She is an inspiration to the youth in Florida that want to get involved in government and public service. We caught up with Amber to find out what leadership means to her and what advice she would give to the next generation of leaders.

Why did you choose this career path?

I chose this path because I believe that it is best way for me to utilize my talents to help people.

Who inspired you to get involved?

My dad has been a County Commissioner for 14 years, so I got to grow up watching him help people. It became a tangible for me in 2008 when Sarah Palin was nominated to the McCain presidential ticket.

How do you define a leader?

A leader is someone who listens to everyone around them and knows his/her team strength and how to best utilize them.

What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?

I work a lot with with Pace Center for girls and trying to show them the value of higher education by bringing them to Universities for a tour.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?

Do not take no for an answer. There will always be someone who wants to tear you down but you must persist!. Persist until you are annoying.