By Felicia Holloman (3L)
A week after he was elected to a seat in the Florida Statehouse, winning a Democratic primary that left him unopposed in the general election, David Kerner (JD 10) dropped his old law school dean a note.
“Thanks to you and UF law for instilling in me the sense of leadership and courage it takes to run and win,” Kerner wrote. And he added: “I want to encourage UF Law students early on to run for office and be leaders, just as I was encouraged to do so when I was there.”
An attorney in the West Palm Beach office of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, & Zoeller, P.A., Kerner is headed to Tallahassee as representative in the Florida House. At 29, he is among the youngest members of the House or Senate, representing District 8, which includes West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Greenacres, Palm Springs, Glenridge and Cloud Lake.
Before embarking on politics, Kerner’s path took him through law enforcement, law school, prosecution and civil litigation.
Kerner spent four years working as a police officer with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and city of Alachua before applying to law school.
At UF Law, Kerner was chief justice of the UF Supreme Court and vice president of the Law College Council. He was also a member of the Gainesville Board of Adjustments and Alachua County Environmental Protection Board and he continued to work as a police officer part-time to help pay his way through law school.
“Don’t be interested in a career in politics; be interested in serving your community,” Kerner recommended to UF Law students and graduates considering following in his footsteps.
Reflecting on the campaign trail, Kerner found that the most rewarding part of running for office was talking to people who are passionate about causes.
As he transitions into public office, Kerner continues to contribute to the community. Kerner serves on the UF Law Alumni Council and volunteers as a police officer.
According to Kerner, opportunities arise for individuals who commit themselves to responsibilities and have a record of service.
There is “no better springboard” than an education at UF Law for pursuing one’s aspirations, he said. For now, he is still getting used to being called “Representative Kerner.”