Tracy Caruso Asks Politicos: What Did You Buy When You Finally Made a Buck?

We all have that milestone moment that makes us feel like we finally made it. While living in New York, I went to a gallery in SoHo with a guy who wanted to buy artwork for his new apartment. The guy started acting like a dismissive jerk, so when he pointed to a painting and said, “That’s very cool,” I looked up at the art dealer and said, “I’ll take it.” It was my first major purchase. That painting meant I could work hard and get what I wanted. I look at that painting now and remember who I was and how far I’ve come. I schlepped that thing to Florida, and it still hangs on my wall. Florida Jolt contacted South Florida political candidates and asked; What did you buy when you finally made a buck, and what did it mean to you? These are their stories. 

This Mark Kostabi painting from a New York art gallery was Tracy Caruso’s first major purchase.

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Candidate for House District 89, Daniel Zapata;

I started working at Publix as a bag boy at 14. I started saving, and by the time I was 16, I bought myself my first car—a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, which my friends renamed the Hyundai Zapata. It may not have been the best car in the world, but I loved it because I worked for it, and it was mine.

Republican Candidate for HD 89 Daniel Zapata


Candidate for Palm Beach County State Committeewoman, Jodi Schwartz;

Actually, I saved up at the beginning and didn’t buy one thing…. I moved out of my parents’ house at twenty years old, got my own apartment in Boston, and lived on my own. I was determined to be independent and responsible.

Candidate for Republican Palm Beach County State Committeewoman Jodi Schwartz


Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Varisa Lall Dass, currently in office, is now up for re-election for the port for seat 2. 

I upgraded my face cream to La Mer. Because I needed to reduce the effects of stress from trying to “make it” had given me, I bought it right after I moved to my high-rise in downtown West Palm. I had just started working as an attorney at a civil litigation firm after a career as a TV news reporter, not known for being the highest-paid industry. Buying La Mer to me symbolized financial freedom and investing in my quality of life and well-being after 3 am shifts at the TV station. It symbolized taking care of myself and prioritizing that.

Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Varisa Lall Dass is up for re-election to Palm Beach County Port Commission District 2


Candidate for Palm Beach County State Committeeman Joe LaFauci;

I have a tradition of buying a new suit every time I get a new job, and I try to wear it on my first day of work. First impressions are everything; having that little extra confidence walking into a room for the first time helps me look and feel good.

Republican candidate for Palm Beach County State Committeeman Joe LaFauci and political fashion model Tracy Caruso


Broward State Committeewoman Michele Merrell is currently up for re-election.

After college, I bought my first adult furniture. It felt like I was transitioning into real adult life and that anything was possible. 

President Donald J. Trump with Broward Republican State Committeewoman Michele Merrell


Candidate for Palm Beach County School Board District 5, Gloria Branch ;

I was an FAU student working at the bank. I wanted my first car, a Honda Accord EX with a sunroof. My dad said, “OK, we’ll haggle the price, and the dealer will say no, but we’ll walk out.” He then said, “They will agree.” Twenty-four hours later, I had my car! It was a lesson in financial negotiation and winning and a celebration of graduating college!

Republican Palm Beach County School Board District 5 Candidate Gloria Branch

Florida Jolt’s Jack Furnari said that his first significant expenditure was an apartment without a bathtub in the kitchen, a story that any true New Yorker can relate to. He did not mention where the bathtub is in his current home, so if you go over to his place, knock before entering. 

Other stories you may want to read:

Dan Franzese Campaign Goes to The Dogs

Jodi Schwartz: From ‘Never Walking Again’ to Trying to Flip PBC Red

Gloria Branch Files for PBC School Board District 5 

Joe LaFauci Announces Candidacy for PBC Republican State Committeeman

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