If there is one thing needed to understand about the US Congressional District 11 candidate Dana Cottrell (DEM), it is how she has ideas and knows how she wants to improve this district and the country.
Ms. Cottrell’s showcases her experience as an educator in both Hernando County as well as with the Department of Defense Dependent Schools overseas. In Hernando, she has been named teacher of the year for two separate schools, in 1996 at Powell Middle School and in 2003 at Fox Chapel Middle School. She has taught on military bases in Busan, South Korea and Bitburg, Germany.
Her path towards running for office began at a young age, with history teachers in school instilling in her some core beliefs.
“I fell in love with our history. I fell in love with our country, government, civics -- just the whole thing,” Cottrell said.
These core beliefs were something she instilled onto her students, using lessons she learned to help the children she taught to grow and be more aware.
“I would always tell my kids, ‘Being voters is important. Being educated voters is important because that’s your voice,’ ” Cottrell said.
One of Cottrell’s platforms is a revamping of how Congress handles itself. One suggestion she has is term limits in the House and the Senate.
“We have gotten people who are more concerned about staying in power and not about what is right or best for the American people,” she said.
These term limits, Cottrell believes, will allow fresh ideas to come through with the current incumbents taking new positions in government, mentoring the new members on the process and allowing those ideas to flourish.
It is the idea of mentorship that seems to be the base for many of Cottrell’s stances. This comes again from her years of teaching, and she is encouraged to see more teachers running for public office.
“I think teachers are running because we have a different bottom line. Teachers are not business people, we’re not lawyers, we’re not corporations we don’t have wealth. Our bottom line is seeing success of the individuals we’re working for. My classroom, they would be my babies, they’re my kids. Anybody I’ve taught, they’re still my kids, and when I become a congresswoman my constituents will be my class, they’ll be the people I need to care for every single day. Every single decision that I make and every single thing that I think about will be for the constituents of the district. I think that teachers think differently about their role and their job,” Cottrell said.
Cottrell also promises to be an active member of Congress. There are times when representatives abstain from voting, sometimes as a way to avoid tricky or controversial topics. Cottrell plans to use her voice, something she sees as vital to being a member of the House of Representatives.
“Isn’t it my job so you know how I’m voting on issues and where I stand on issues?” Cottrell said.
Her husband, Michael Cottrell, is easily Dana’s most fervent supporter. Working with her and providing support, he is always impressed with Dana’s ability, noting how she will stay up late to research a topic, to learn more so she can make informed decisions.
“She’s always the most prepared and knowledgeable person in the room,” Michael said.
This sort of dedication makes Ms. Cottrell an interesting candidate and one to watch for Hernando County.