MaryLynn Magar doesn’t consider herself a politician. But having grown up in northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., she picked up plenty of knowledge about political dos and don’ts.
She has put that expertise to work since moving to South Florida with her husband, Robert Stilley, and daughter, Samantha, two decades ago. In addition to her duties as a mother, school volunteer and businesswoman, Magar toiled behind the scenes on Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaign, George W. Bush’s bid for president and a variety of local races in the Jupiter-Tequesta area.
Magar is currently Republican state committeewoman in Martin County and has been a member of the Martin County Republican Executive Committee since 1993. She and her husband, who is chairman of the Board of Trustees at Florida Atlantic University, founded HeartCare Imaging Inc. in their adopted hometown of Tequesta.
So, with Florida Rep. William Snyder leaving office to run for sheriff of Martin County in November, Magar and five other hopefuls are vying to take over his District 82 seat.
Also in the pack are Carl Domino, a former long-time state representative; Jon Pasqualone, a Martin County firefighter who once served as the department’s fire prevention chief; as well as Jonathan Milton, Calvin Turnquist and Michael Mortel. But Martin County election officials said Mortel has been redistricted into House District 83’s boundaries, so he will have to remove himself from the race, narrowing the District 82 field to five.
While no one has yet taken a clear lead in the race, Magar has a couple of major endorsements that put her candidacy in the spotlight. Both state Sen. Joseph Negron, who represented District 82 in the Florida House before becoming senator, and U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney have thrown their support behind Magar.
“MaryLynn Magar is an excellent example of the kind of conservative leadership our state needs, and I am pleased to endorse her candidacy,” said Negron, a past president of the Martin County Republican Club.
Rooney also had high praise.
“MaryLynn holds fast to her beliefs that big government has gotten too intrusive in our economy and needs to be scaled back,” said Rooney, who has strong roots in Jupiter. “And with her private-sector experience in Florida, she knows exactly what this state needs to get the economy back on track.”
When she arrived in Florida, Magar didn’t just fall into the political arena.
“I went looking to find the political leaders,” she said. They helped work her into the GOP’s ranks, where she established name recognition.
When Snyder’a seat came up for grabs, “I had some calls. I thought about it, I cried about it,” Magar said. “But the business was stable, and my daughter was in high school.” So, she decided to put her “sense of community service” on the line.
Magar describes herself as a classic conservative: “More freedom and smaller government. I am socially conservative and a practicing Catholic. With faith come responsibilities. I try to live my life responsibly, dealing with good and bad. I set goals and measure my progress against them.”
That’s the way she’ll serve the district if she wins the election, she said.
As business professionals, she said, she and her husband realized that “voters everywhere are struggling financially and are increasingly aware that something seems to have gone wrong and that our days of prosperity seem to be behind us.”
“Quite simply, our country seems to be on the wrong track,” she added. “And although there are beginning to be some signs of life in Florida’s economy, we would be naïve to suggest that we do not have a long way to go in this economic recovery.”
Magar is running for office, she said, because “I want to tackle Florida’s economy head-on, and I want to bring jobs back to Florida and make our state prosperous again. I believe we can bring more jobs to Florida without compromising our commitment to our quality of life if we have the right leadership to help chart the way.
“I am not a career politician,” she added. “I am a concerned citizen that has decided to get off the sidelines and take action to foster the economic environment we all need to succeed.”
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