HCC was the right place for me to begin my college education. I worked full time and went to school full time. HCC accommodated my busy schedule and kept me close to home. I started college thinking I would be a CPA, however I was working in the government and legal fields and truly enjoyed the work. I recall doubting my choice to be a CPA, but was encouraged by academic counselors at HCC who said, “Be patient, you will find your passion.” I did, and had my sights set on law school before matriculating to the University of South Florida where I earned a B.A. in Business Administration. After graduating as a Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law, I started my own law practice in Tampa and continued in that practice until 1992, when I ran for Public Defender—which is an elected office provided for in the Florida Constitution. In the 25 years that I have been Public Defender of the 13th Judicial Circuit, I am proud to say I have fought hard for the rights of thousands of indigent defendants. HCC prepared me well for the academic challenges of a university and the rigors I would encounter in law school. I’m also thankful for the support I received from the HCC community when I ran for Public Defender. They are truly a supportive family.