The New Face of District 43 Sits Down for an Interview

Annalyn Caputo, Managing Editor

As the new Florida state legislative session began March 1st, a new face graced the halls of the Capitol. Representative Kristen Arrington has begun her term as the state representative for District 43, covering most of Osceola County. Before the legislative session began The Valencia Voice was able to sit down with Rep. Arrington and talk about her plans for her term and her time with Valencia College.

Going into the 2021 session Rep. Arrington is focused on fighting for already budgeted services in light of the budget deficit Covid-19 is causing. Budgeted services include programs such as Meals on Wheels, the education system, rent and utility assistance, and the unemployment system.

Rep. Arrington is also a member of both the Education and Employment Committee and the Post-Secondary and Life-Long Learning Subcommittee. This year the focus for these committee’s are expanding workforce training, connecting people to the training opportunities, and helping them enter the workforce. She feels like there is a disconnect between what is available and how to get people there.

Rep. Arrington explains, “even though we have the highest unemployment rate in the state, there are still a lot of jobs out there that we just don’t have folks trained for.” She continues to say that the pieces are there, we just have to connect the dots better, be more transparent, and have more communication.

A personal focus for Rep. Arrington is a bill that would set up a program for high school students to meet with their guidance counselor each year to go over all of the options available outside of a traditional four-year degree. She says, “we want to make sure students know all of options available to them.”

A non-traditional path is not something new to Rep. Arrington. She started Valencia College in pursuit of her Associates of Arts degree at age 40. She is still working through her program with sights on attending the University of Central Florida for political science. She credits her speech class for getting her ready to run for office. She says it helped her get over her fear of public speaking, and if not for that, she would have never run.

Some advice that Rep. Arrington has for current Valencia students is to volunteer and intern as much as you can. As she has learned personally, interests change over time, and by volunteering you can start to narrow down what you are most passionate about. She also points out that networking is important, so get your name out there.

On a final note, Rep. Arrington says she is always open to hearing from her constituents. If you need help, need connections to services, or even have ideas for policy change – her office is always open.