The youngest new member of the Florida Legislature will be enjoying a moment in the national spotlight in Tallahassee this week.
First-term Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, who turned 21 in October, is being shadowed by a producer from NBC's Today show as part of the network's planned coverage during the week of Donald Trump's inauguration next month.
"Why me? Because I was largely affected by President-elect Trump's wave that he had, and Pasco specifically was very big," Mariano said. She's one of 46 freshmen in the 120-member House of Representatives.
Mariano, who defeated Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy, is one of the most obvious beneficiaries of Trump's down-ballot strength in Tampa Bay. A political science major at the University of Central Florida, she said she will take the spring semester off to focus on her duties as a House member (she has four courses left before getting her degree). Mariano has previously been a page and an intern, and she's likely to be mistaken for one before her first legislative session is over.
Can't wait for the segment to air? Read her Times profile here.