John Stemberger: Florida Family Policy Council president

Biographical information:
Birth Place: Daytona Beach
Years in Florida: Floridian since birth with a three year stint in law school in Birmingham, AL.
Church: Metro Life Church associated with Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Married to Olivia from Dothan AL, for 15 years  with
4 Children. Attorney and Citizen Activist
Occupation: President of Florida Family Policy Council

Family/human interest:
Q:     Where did you grow-up and what was it like?
Born and reared in Daytona Beach, Florida.  We lived close to the DB speedway and so you could hear the stock cars racing around the track at the 24 hour races all night long.  I also remember hanging out on the beach many Christmas afternoons.

Q:     Growing up [or now] – do you have a favorite sport, or hobby?
When I was a pre-teen kid, I loved skate boarding and roller skating.  Later I was into Boy Scout patches I was a serious patch collector and designed about  12 myself that were used in various local and state events.

Q:    Who has most shaped you as a leader – your mother or your father? Why?
My  mother.  My father died right after I turned 16.  My mother had a great influence on me – encouraging, supporting me, praying for me and believing in me.   If I have had any success in life, I owe much of it to her influence. 

Q:    Where and how did you meet your spouse?
The short and shameless story is I met and married my aerobics instructor–but only after going to an aerobics class on a dare by an FSU Football player, who claimed that I was too wimpy and could not handle the high impact workout.

Q:    Does your family have a Thanksgiving, or Christmas [or other holiday] tradition, that you’d like to tell us about?
On Christmas Eve we eat dinner together as a  family, watch the Nativity movie and then all the kids pile in the van to drive around hunt for the best Christmas lights.  I come from a “no gifts” on Christmas Eve family.  Olivia comes from an “all gifts” on Christmas Eve family.  The fight over that issue has also become a Christmas tradition.

First job?  Paper boy on bicycle: Daytona Beach News Journal.  Sharp shooter:  80% door step ratio and right proud of it.
Favorite movie? No question -:  Gladiator.
Last book read?  “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas
Musical preference?  Seventies.  I am a sap for flashbacks to my past as a kid. 
Favorite team?  No time for watching sports.  But call me about anything on Florida Current Events if you ever need a lifeline on Millionaire. 

Lakes or oceans; mountains or beaches?  Oceans and Beaches.
Army, navy, air force, marines or coast guard?  Air Force: I was Squadron Commander and Drill Team Commander for the AFJROTC Florida 42nd Unit in High School. 

Public leadership:
Q:    After many years of political activism, including serving as the Political Director Republican Party of Florida in 1992, you became the President of the Florida Family Policy Council in 2004. What motivated you to take that position? 
I spent 10 years of my life frustrated and not sure if I should become a pastor, a lawyer or a political leader because I had a strong interest in all three areas.  Through my position with the Florida Family Policy Council, I have the extraordinary privilege of taking some part in all three of these roles.

Q:    Can you name a key issue that you are currently working on as the President of the Florida Family Policy Council which you hope to complete? 
We have tried to pass the “Ultrasound before Abortion” bill in Tallahassee for 4 years.  This year we came very close by passing it out of both houses–only to have Gov. Crist veto it.  Other than reversing Roe v Wade outright, there is no other legal or policy measure that will lower the number of abortions than this law.   We have committed our lives to this battle for the unborn and will never surrender.

Q:     To date is there one accomplishment in your public service that you’d like to tell us about?
Spending four years leading the effort to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment in Florida was an amazing privilege.  I really felt as if God had prepared me my entire life for that one task.  Against all odds, outspent by 3 to 1 and with every daily Newspaper against us, the people of Florida by 62% clearly choose to keep marriage as it’s always been– the union of one man and one woman. 
Q:    Have you ever considered running for public elected office? 
In law school I had a 30 year plan on the back of my door to become Governor of Florida.  God changed all that and showed me my place was to help choose the Governor and not become one.  Plus, even presidential candidates come to my office and ask for my support.  Why would I want to run for dog catcher? 

Q:     You are currently leading an effort to reduce divorces in Florida- the Strong Marriages Florida campaign- tell us about it?
One of the goals of Strong Marriages Florida is to train 10,000 marriage mentors in local churches statewide.  These are seasoned married couples who, with minimal training, can come along side other engaged couples or married couples in crisis and offer help and hope from their own experiences.  We are committed to seeing marriages strengthened and restored.

The one thing that I would change about Florida …
is to reverse the culture of rejection found in the high abortion and divorce rates and establish a culture of acceptance and forgiveness.

The one thing that I would change about the United States …
is to cause the Church collectively to take up a prophetic role and see itself as the guardians of culture in the broadest of senses.

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