On Tuesday, February 28, Senator Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg native, visited Admiral Farragut Academy’s Upper School Computer Science Principles class as part of his look into schools using the Project Lead the Way program. The visit also included Senator Brandes’ Legislative Assistant, Melissa Hertzfeld, and Project Lead the Way’s Director of Government Relations, Jessica Hooper.
Senator Brandes is a Republican member of the Florida Senate and has represented the Pinellas County area since 2010 He served one term in the House, and has represented Pinellas County in the Senate since 2012. Previously Senator Brandes served in the United States Army Reserve from 1996 to 2007 following his graduation from the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama in 1996 and while he attended Carson-Newman College, from which he graduated in 1999 with a degree in business administration. From 2003 to 2004, Brandes served in the Iraq War, for which he earned a Combat Action Badge. (Source Wikipedia)
The Senator is very active in the future and legislature surrounding technological advancement. “Did you know that 95% of car accidents happen because of human error?,” he asked the class. “Did you know that truck driving is the #1 blue-collar job that employs Americans in 29 states? Now that self-driving cars and automation are becoming reality, we must start challenging artificial intelligence and whether it is good or bad.”
Florida has begun to progress in technology. “Florida is one of the states that allows you to provide electronic proof of insurance from your smart phone,” said Senator Brandes. “We may soon see driver’s licenses available this way too.”
He explained that in the future students will see technology be a large part of the workforce. “It is incredibly important that you focus on this type of learning, especially if you want to join the military,” said Senator Brandes.
When asked about self-driving vehicles, the Senator responded, “Like electricity hit cities when it was first invented, I see self-driving vehicles start in cities and only function in a small, square-mile area and grow from there. We are moving toward shared, automatic, and electric vehicles. Today we are currently buying units of vehicles, but I see this changing to a miles-based system by 2025-2035.”