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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 15, 200212:00 PM EST

Profile: Susan Stewart

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After a 14-month hiatus, Susan Stewart (formerly Yakubik) recently returned to her post as a secretary in the Duval County Legislative Delegation Office.

A LONG ASSOCIATION

Stewart began working for Shirley King, then director of the delegation office, in 1987. “She’s wonderful. She’s really the person who made this office what it is today.” When Stewart returned to her job, King came back to help her. “She’s definitely my mentor.”

A HIATUS

In April 2001, motivated by the need for a change, she took a job in the City’s purchasing department where she worked as executive secretary for Chief of Purchasing Jacquie Gibbs. “I scheduled Ms. Gibbs’ appointments and took a lot of phone calls for her. Basically, I did a little bit of everything.”

POLITICS IS IN HER BLOOD

“Sometimes, I think, you have to leave something to realize how much you like it. When you work at one post as long as I did, it kind of gets in your blood. Also, I really like working with the legislature and being involved in passing laws.”

WHAT DO YOU DO?

“Since we’re only a two-person office, I do a little bit of everything, from assisting Darla [Wilson, the director of the delegation office] in scheduling school tours, to handling requests from the public regarding bill analysis and delegation lists. One of the most valuable aspects of the job, I’d say, is that I’m able to update people on the new Florida statutes that come out every year. If, for example, someone has a question about a change on a particular statute, they can call me, and I can go through my reference books and let them know.”

FAVORITE ASPECT OF THE JOB?

“I love helping people. A lot of times, by the time they get to this office, they have been transferred four or five times and they are so frustrated they’re ready for me to take over the legwork.”

LEAST FAVORITE?

“I really can’t think of anything. It used to be travel because I didn’t want to be away from my family. But now, I only have to travel one day a year for the legislative session. Computers have made things so much easier.”

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS YOU HEAR REGARDING LEGISLATORS?

“It’s been my impression that a lot of citizens might want to see a specific law changed but they don’t know the appropriate avenues to take. Also, people sometimes get confused about which legislator is on which level; local, federal or state.”

ONE OF THE FEW

She’s one of those rare creatures: a native Floridian. Born in St. Petersburg, she lived briefly in Cocoa Beach. “Really, I’ve been in Jacksonville most of my life. I attended Sandalwood High School and took paralegal courses at FCCJ. I’m still working on my degree.”

FAMILY IS ‘EVERYTHING’

Stewart and her husband Ron have one daughter, Sarah, 2. They live on the Southside.

NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY

“I really enjoy reading but with a two-and-a-half-year-old, it’s kind of hard to do much of that. If I did have the time, I would read John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark. I also love to read magazines. It’s so hard to be in the checkout line of the grocery store and not pick them up.”

APPLE OF HER EYE

“My favorite hobby, I’d have to say, is spending time with my daughter. Already, she talks up a storm. Her favorite programs are ‘Bob the Builder’ and ‘Dora the Explorer,’ all the ones that her age group loves. When I ask her if she’s spoiled, she says, ‘No.’ Right now, we’re working on the ‘Yes ma’ams and ‘no ma’ams.’ She does say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and that’s important.”

— by Patti Connor

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