Why I’m Running

My mother was a front-line Army surgical nurse during WWII. My father was a career fighter pilot in the Air Force. They led by example and taught me and my four siblings that actions speak louder than words and success is measured by results.

It’s why I became a prosecutor after law school and then went on to work for the Florida Department of Citrus as General Counsel.

When out-of-state juice companies started substituting orange juice with refined sugar and called their product 100 percent orange juice, I led the investigation to expose the juice adulteration and protect Florida growers, manufacturers, and consumers.

When diluted juice drinks were palmed off on consumers as 100 percent juice, I worked with the FDA to correct the problem. As a result, today all juice content is labeled.
And when we learned of corporations cheating on import duties, I joined up with US Customs in Operation Orange Squeeze to crack down on them and protect our Florida growers and American taxpayers.

I’m also proud of my recent work in private practice to help local juice manufacturers streamline the federal inspection bureaucracy so they can invest more in creating jobs here in Florida.

I’ve spent my life working to solve problems like these, but it seems like no one in Washington is focused on results. Too many members of Congress are putting partisan politics ahead of what’s best for our country. And our President is making it worse by using fear and hatred to divide us.

I’ve tried to make Florida a better place by working with others to get results, and I’m going to take the same approach to Congress.

My Story

My father and mother met during World War II in Europe. Mom was an Army surgical nurse in a field hospital during the Battle of the Bulge and my father was a fighter pilot. After the war, Dad and Mom married, raised five kids, and made a career and life in the Air Force for over thirty years.

Our family came to Tampa via MacDill AFB where Dad served as the wing commander. I attended high school in Okinawa and returned to Florida for college, since the Air Force Academy, my first choice, did not admit women at the time. After graduating from the University of Florida and Stetson College of Law, I worked as a prosecutor in Pasco County, followed by 12 years with the Florida Department of Citrus in Lakeland serving as a Senior Attorney and General Counsel. I then spent over 20 years in private practice before joining the Florida Department of Transportation in Bartow as Chief Counsel in 2013.

I “un-retired” from government returning to my Tampa law firm, Macfarlane, Ferguson & McMullen, where I today have private clients and serve as the Executive Director of the Florida Citrus Processors Association.

I am particularly proud of my work exposing and stopping out-of-state juice companies from adding refined sugar to their product and calling it 100 percent orange juice, working with the FDA to have all juice sold today clearly labeled, and cracking down on corporations cheating on import duties.

In addition to my professional work, I served 12 years on Boys and Girls Clubs of Lakeland Board of Directors, the Polk Museum of Art Board of Directors and elected President, and was appointed to the City of Lakeland Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals.

Finally, I am the proud mother of two adult sons.