Newly-elected 23-year-old Polk Co. representative: 'My favorite thing is being underestimated'

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Although Josie Tomkow comes from a ranching family, there is no grass growing under her feet.

At 23, she was just elected to represent District 39, which includes Polk and Osceola counties, in the Florida House.

“I have the energy from six o’clock in the morning until twelve o’clock at night, and I do that all the time,” she said. “I think if we are going to have someone represent us, and someone who is going to get things done, they can’t be tired.”

And Tomkow overflows with energy.

“Being young, my favorite thing is being underestimated,” she commented.

Earlier this year, Tomkow won a special election to take over the District 39 seat and finish out Neil Combee’s term. Combee resigned to take another job.

Combee, a long-time family friend, encouraged her to run.

“I had complete confidence that she could do the job on day one,” he said. “I am sure she is going to prove me right, and it won’t take long.”

She is now one of the youngest members of the Florida House.

Tomkow plans to advocate for agriculture and promote foster care and adoption. She also supports school choice.

“I want to be an advocate where parents can choose where their kids go to school, and what form of education they’re getting.”

Tomkow began her political education early on. She started going to Tallahassee in her teens advocating for agriculture.

For her, it was a perfect fit.

“I caught the political bug that everyone talks about. I fell in love with the energy of the people. I fell in love with the process,” said Tomkow.

Asked if she has higher aspirations politically, she says she is planning for the future in a very flexible way,

“I am going to continue and be an advocate, and see where I grow and where God takes me,” she said.