Sharon Pritchett: Retired Public Investigator with an Eye on Kids
Around the State
Residence: Miami Gardens
Education: St. Thomas University, Master of Science in Administration of Justice
Occupation: Retired chief investigator
Previous Public Office: City of Miami Gardens, council member, 2003-2011
Did you know? Is a self-styled "culinary epicurean."
Northwest Miami-Dade’s new representative might be retired from the county public defender’s office, but her public service to Florida is just getting started.
“I think people just want an advocate, someone to bring back information, empower them to understand the process of how government actually works,” Rep. Sharon Pritchett, D-Miami Gardens, tells Sunshine State News. “And how together, collectively, we can work to ensure that all of their needs are met in terms of the quality-of-life issues.”
A retired chief investigator with the Miami-Dade County public defender’s office, Pritchet served for eight years on the Miami Gardens City Council, from 2003, the year the city became incorporated. Appropriately enough, she’s been assigned a seat on the Local and Federal Affairs and Economics committees, which she specifically requested, as well as the Health Innovation and Healthy Families subcommittee.
She’s filed only two bills so far, but promises that more are coming down the pipeline.
HB 131 “(Juvenile Expunction”) allows for minors who have minor felony arrests to have their public record wiped clean after completing a pre-arrest or post-arrest diversion program. Diversion programs are alternatives to the formal juvenile justice system, which aim to mentor and rehabilitate youthful offenders instead of subjecting them to the traumas of the conventional prison system.
HB 143 (“Vision Screening of Preschool Students”) provides for mandatory vision screenings for students entering the public school system for the first time, whether at kindergarten or prekindergarten.
“So often we hear about children who are just not performing to their optimal capabilities, and they’re not doing so because they can’t see; they’ve never had an eye exam,” Pritchett explains. “We need this. It’s something that guarantees each child who may need corrective lenses can be identified at an early enough age.”
A companion bill has been filed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah; that, along with the bipartisan tone prevailing in the Legislature so far, gives Pritchett confidence that she will be able to reach across the political divide and bring Republicans to support her causes.
“I’m optimistic, simply because my issues are not Democratic or Republican issues,” she insists. “These are issues affecting all residents and constituents in the state of Florida. I am going to keep the positive mental attitude that there is common ground to be had.”
Asked what she does to relieve the stresses of lawmaking, Prtichett turns the conversation toward the kitchen.
“I love to cook! Most people don’t know that because I just have no time these days,” she exclaims. “I cook soul food, I cook Italian: you name it, I can cook it!”
And what does her husband think of her culinary abilities?
She declines to comment.
Reach Eric Giunta at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 235-9116.