Travis Hutson: Provide Vocational Training for Kids Not Cut Out for College

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: December 20, 2012 3:55 AM
Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton
Travis Hutson
Date of Birth: Oct. 3, 1984
Birthplace: Jacksonville
Residence: Elkton
Education: Lafayette College, Bachelor of Arts in economics and business
Occupation: Real estate agent
Previous Public Office(s): None.
Family: Wife
Did you know? Great-grandfather was Rep. Malcolm Lawrence Hinson of Concord, who served in the Florida House from 1923 to 1925. Also, don't confuse him with fellow freshman Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, or with Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples.

St. Johns County’s newest representative is uniquely experienced to speak on the matter closest to his heart, education. The reason? He’s the second-youngest member of the Florida House, and one of only two sitting legislators who have taken the FCAT.

Freshman Travis Hutson, R- Elkton, represents District 24, which includes three counties: rural northwest Volusia, southern St. Johns, and all of Flagler.

At 28 years old, he would be the youngest member of the Legislature but for being beat out by fellow freshman Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, who’s a year younger.

A real estate agent by trade, Hutson’s been appointed by House Speaker Will Weatherford to the Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee, which was Hutson's first preference.

“I’m a Realtor and I have experience in land development,” Hutson tells Sunshine State News. “My district is very tourist-friendly and very heavy in tourism in terms of the economic structure, so I felt this committee was a perfect fit given my background and my district.”

But Hutson’s most ambitious plans for the upcoming legislative session seem to stem from issues he will be tackling in his Education Committee assignment. He’s a relatively recent college graduate, having received his B.A. in business and economics in 2007 from Lafayette College, where the athletically-inclined student played football, and from which he boasts three championship rings. He’s also a runner, having received a champion track medaI for a 100-meter dash.

“I’m big on education; I campaigned very heavily on this issue, being young myself and having been through the Florida [public school] system and taken -- and passed -- the FCAT,” he tells the News.

He says he will be introducing legislation aimed at bolstering vocational education in the state school system; he’s worried that the system is not adequately meeting the needs of teenagers who, for any number of reasons, are not college-bound. One thing he says the state can do is offer more industry-certified courses in public high schools.

“Some kids prefer not to go to college, but to work for family or friends instead,” he says. “We should have industry-certified, work-related classes students can take when they’re 16, 17, or 18 years old. That’s hands-on experience they can take into the employment sector when they graduate.”

Asked what kinds of courses he had in mind, Travis mentions carpentry, welding, and culinary arts.

Though he supports most of the individual measures Florida has taken in the direction of education reform in recent years, he tells the News he’s concerned that too many statewide changes in education laws have in some cases left students, teachers and parents overwhelmed.

“We add too many elements to the mix year-by-year without giving them a chance to understand how to implement these things,” he says. “I don’t think we need to make severe changes every year.”

Hutson thought he was the first member of his family to enter politics, until he and his mother discovered – just two months before Election Day – that his great-grandfather, Malcolm Lawrence Hinson of Concord, served in the House from 1923 to 1925.

His reaction to the revelation?

“I thought, ‘Whoa! Wouldn’t this have been a great story to open the campaign up with back in March?’”

Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116.

Comments (4)

shirley wood
7:45PM DEC 20TH 2012
The progressives in our society want all children to go through the university system to be indoctrinated in their socialist ideas. Good luck with this idea, although I do think it is a good idea!
12:41PM DEC 20TH 2012
Hutson would do well to look at the four tiered German system for the pluses and minuses of how this could work.
8:22AM DEC 20TH 2012
How about nursing, driving a truck, auto and boat mechanics, small engine repair, appliance repair, small scale farming, training in aquaculture, retailing, etc.

What a boon to small businesses not to have to spend time and money on training new employees beyond the way they run their business.

Also, include classes on how to run your own small business, and where to find help setting one up and running it. Those kids should know they can also turn their vocational training into their own small businesses.
Ben Coogle
7:14AM DEC 20TH 2012
I was a Construction Teacher in GA from 1983 to 1995, 9-12th grades. Taught Carpentry, Masonry, Plumbing and Electrical work. My class built 11, 3 bedroom houses. We never got any respect from "real teachers", unless they wanted something from us of course!

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