Mark Merwitzer, a resident of Palmetto Bay and a student at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, is turning his summer vacation time into a learning experience of a different kind. He currently is a summer intern for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
Merwitzer, who has been very active in standing up for the needs and wants of his community since age 7, when he helped push for higher wages and better benefits for teachers, was appointed at the age of 15 to the Palmetto Bay Youth Advisory Board.
Since then he has raised money and handled many logistical aspects for the Palmetto Bay Relay for Life booth. He has taken an active interest in politics on all levels, local through national.
“I first met the commissioner in May, when I saw about the FPL Turkey Point Power Plant meeting in Community Newspapers,” Merwitzer said. “I’ve learned a lot about how local government works. I’m really thankful for Commissioner Levine Cava mentoring me and giving me useful advice.”
A personal project Merwitzer has been working on relates to distracted driving due to cell phone use. Besides research, he has drafted a letter to the legislators for his district, Rep. Michael Bileca and Sen. Gwen Margolis. He plans to reach out to them by telephone and also invite them to meet with him in the hope they will sponsor legislation at the state level to allow county or municipal regulations regarding cell phone use while driving. Currently the state has full control over cell phone laws. Already, the Office of Rep. Holly Raschein has invited Merwitzer to meet and discuss these policy considerations.
“I want to give back to the community and help make this a safer place to live and work,” Merwitzer said. “Cell phone usage is the No. 1 cause of distraction in auto accidents. My plan right now, since Florida legislators are in recess, is to try to speak with them about this issue.”
Merwitzer started his summer internship at the end of June and in the fall will begin classes at the Miami Dade School of Advanced Studies, Wolfson Campus, where he will do both high school and college level work. Merwitzer also has a passion for aviation and computers. He built his first computer at age 13 and currently is pursuing his private pilot’s license.
Richard A. Morgan, community liaison and special projects at Commissioner Levine Cava’s office, is pleased Merwitzer is there.
“He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our team,” Morgan said. “We have enjoyed having him, as well as our other summer interns.”
Merwitzer would like to encourage others to reach out and share their concerns about distracted driving due to cell phones as well.
Readers may find their state representatives at the following link: www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find or by calling Miami-Dade 3-1-1.