Dr. Ellen Ochoa shares her journey as one of the only women, and only Latinas, in STEAM. Through hard work and perseverance, she made her way into our history books as the first Latina woman to go to space. Dr. Ochoa opens up about her career trajectory, her leadership philosophy, and her advice for the next generation of Latinos in STEAM.
Host: Marco A. Davis, CHCI President and CEO
Guest: Congressman & Member of the CHCI Board of Directors Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09)
In this episode of “Here to Lead” Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) joins Marco Davis to talk about his journey from childhood in New Jersey to making a life in Florida, and his path to public service that led him to Congress.
Darren Soto was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 to represent Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which includes all of Osceola and parts of Orange and Polk Counties.
Born to a Puerto Rican father and Italian-American mother, Darren’s upbringing influenced his passion for public service and helping those in need. After learning the values of hard work from his parents, Darren graduated from Rutgers University and the George Washington University School of Law.
Upon graduation, Darren opened his own practice in Central Florida, where he practiced family law, civil litigation, and real estate law.
With a desire to further help the men and women he advocated for as a lawyer, Darren entered public service in 2006 when he was appointed to serve on the Orlando Civil Service Board and as the Treasurer and the Vice President of Communications for the Orange County Young Democrats. Soon thereafter, he was elected to the State House and later to the State Senate. Serving in the Florida Legislature for a decade, he fought to create high-paying jobs, increase access to higher education and ensure clean water, land and air for his constituents. Darren spearheaded the passage of landmark legislation to protect families of fallen firefighters, giving victims of sexual assault more time to report their attackers and allow Dreamers to be admitted to the Florida Bar.
In 2016, he took his public service to a national level after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In his first term in Congress, he passed the most laws of any Freshmen Member in the House. Now in his third term, Darren has established himself as a strong advocate for the environment, hurricane relief, emerging technologies and the fight to protect the health and safety of his constituents.
He currently serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Additionally, Darren is the Chair of the Future Forum Caucus, Whip of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and a proud member of the New Democrat Coalition, Problem Solvers Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus and LGBT Equality Caucus.
The first Floridian of Puerto Rican descent to serve in Congress, Darren is proud to represent the hard-working men and women who make Central Florida’s theme parks world-renowned, who grow more citrus and raise more cattle than anywhere else in the State and who explore the farthest reaches of the galaxy from the Kennedy Space Center. From fighting for the needs Central Floridians and our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico to being a strong voice on healthcare and the environment, Darren is proud to serve his fellow Americans and the constituents of Florida’s 9th Congressional District.
While in the State Senate, Darren married his wife, Amanda, in 2013. Amanda has worked as a math and science teacher in Osceola and Orange County public schools and is now District Learning Resource Specialist for Osceola County School District. In his free time, Darren enjoys spending time with his wife and their two puppies, Star and Xena. His hobbies include playing guitar, pastel painting and kayaking.