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

December 18, 2012 - 6:00pm

Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton
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 Countys newest representative is uniquely experienced to speak on the matter closest to his heart, education. The reason? Hes 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, whos a year younger.

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

Im 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 Hutsons most ambitious plans for the upcoming legislative session seem to stem from issues he will be tackling in his Education Committee assignment. Hes 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. Hes also a runner, having received a champion track medaI for a 100-meter dash.

Im 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; hes 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 theyre 16, 17, or 18 years old. Thats 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 hes 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 dont 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! Wouldnt this have been a great story to open the campaign up with back in March?

Reach Eric Giunta at or at (954) 235-9116.

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