At the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol luncheon held Wednesday, March 16, 2011, selected lawmakers were honored for their work in the Florida legislature. The bishops of Florida, several state legislators and over 250 Catholic faithful were in attendance as the awards were presented.
Representative Kelli Stargel, District 64, Lakeland, was presented with the Florida Catholic Conference Defensor Vitae (Defender of Life) Award for her ongoing, courageous and valiant defense of the sanctity of life. As a civic minded sixth-generation Floridian, Representative Stargel, whose husband John served in the House of Representatives from 2002-2006, felt moved to run for public office to champion her deeply held convictions about life issues. For the second consecutive session, Representative Stargel is sponsoring a parental notice bill to address concerns that young girls are not receiving adequate counsel prior to seeking a judicial bypass for an abortion. Sheila Hopkins, associate director of social concerns/respect life, said, “As a mother, Representative Stargel understands that parents need to have an opportunity to talk to their daughters about this life changing procedure.” Representative Stargel has also been passionate about legislation for the disabled, responding to parents with disabled adult children who want a safe, quality environment for their children when they are no longer able to care for them.
Photo: Kelli Stargel presented with Florida Catholic Conference Defensor Vitae (Defender of Life) Award).