Jake Raburn: Florida’s Youngest Legislator Prioritizes Agriculture and Education
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Birthplace: Plant City.
Education: University of Florida, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education and Communication.
Occupation: Agricultural marketing/farming -- strawberries, blueberries, and vegetables.
Previous Public Office(s): None.
Family: Wife, son.
Did you know? Helped to create what was once, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest strawberry shortcake.
Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, has been a farmer his whole life, and he's bringing all 27 years of his life experience and education to Tallahassee as the Florida Legislature's newly-elected youngest representative.
“I’ve always been intrigued about politics,” District 57’s new legislator tells Sunshine State News. “My family owns and operates a small farming produce business, and I want my son to have the opportunity to take it over one day. I just wanted to be part of the process, to learn more about our government and how to deal with it.”
He’s already helped to make world history: In 1999, the son of Plant City strawberry farmers contributed to the creation of the world’s then-largest strawberry shortcake -- 827-square-feet and weighing in at 6,000 pounds. (As of 2004, the record is held by a city in the Philippines, which produced a cake weighing over 21,000 pounds.)
But naturally, dessert isn’t on Raburn’s legislative menu. Coming from a family of educators – his wife and both of his parents are teachers – he says he’s excited about using his placement on the House Education Appropriations and K-12 subcommittee to explore education reform.
Though he isn’t proposing a bill of his own on the subject, he tells the News he’s interested in working with other representatives to advance legislation that would increase access to career and technical education for public middle- and high-school students.
But one bill he says he will be proposing, while not directly related to education per se, does implicate the state’s public schools: he wants to empower school districts to open their facilities to the public by “removing some of the liability” these schools would suffer if people get injured while engaged in these public activities.
Raburn’s other priorities include a bill that would streamline statewide fertilizer regulations, giving less discretion to local governments. He also wants to introduce a housekeeping measure to correct some typos in a bill passed last year affecting the Florida Citrus Commission: some sections of state law refer to the “Department of Agriculture” where they are supposed to refer to the “Department of Citrus.”
"No, there haven’t been any problems yet, we just want to make sure it stays that way,” he tells the News. “As far as I know, no one is opposed to our going in there and fixing it.”
Raburn also sits on the State Affairs Committee and the Health Innovation and Transportation and Highway Safety subcommittees.
Reach Eric Giunta at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 235-9116.