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Fasano secretary Christine Hunter departs after 19 years

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Published:   |   Updated: June 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM

NEW PORT RICHEY - Nineteen years just seemed to fly by for Christine Hunter.
"We all started out together," Hunter reminisced after retiring this week as the district secretary to state Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

She was part of the original team in 1994, when Fasano was first elected to the Florida House. She stuck with him when he made the jump to the Florida Senate for 10 years. After term limits barred him from seeking another Senate term in 2012, Fasano ran again for the House and won.

"Chris is an incredible human being who is compassionate and exemplifies the term grace under fire," Fasano wrote in a tribute.

Fasano's long-time chief legislative assistant, Greg Giordano, had to fight back some tears when describing his longtime co-worker. "It feels like my big sister is going off to college," he said.

"I thought he was going to say his mom," Hunter added with her trademark laugh.
Before departing June 3, Hunter helped train her successor, Mara Stierman, a 23-year-old New Port Richey native.

Hunter told Stierman to brace herself for a wide assortment of questions from callers.
"I should have kept a diary," Hunter said with a chuckle. Few people could stump her with questions.

One caller asked how to get out tea stains from a white tablecloth, Hunter recalled with a giggle. Hunter called home and told her husband, Al, to look up her copy of a Hints from Heloise reference book. Then she called back the woman with the answer.
Stierman already has fielded a sampling of out-of-left-field inquiries. She said she thrives on it. Her co-workers describe her as a quick learner.

A graduate of River Ridge High School, Stierman studied for two years at Pasco-Hernando Community College. She then transferred to University of Tampa to pursue a degree in government and world affairs, with a minor in history. She graduated UT in 2012.

In 2010, she served as an intern in the office of Pasco Elections Supervisor Brian Corley, who recommended her highly to Fasano.

Throughout college, Stierman worked more than four years in customer service at a Winn-Dixie supermarket. She also worked at a Dillard's store.

Stierman's parents, Brian and Mary, reside here. Her brother, Ben, 16, goes to her alma mater, River Ridge High. A sister, Christine Ferro, 32, lives in Spring Hill where she is a teacher.

Confident in her successor, Hunter packed up her countless teddy bears and other memorabilia at the office. Twenty of Hunter's friends surprised her at a luncheon to bid farewell.

The Hunters intend to travel a bit to visit relatives, including a niece due to have a baby soon.

"Christine has become synonymous with this office," Giordano wrote in a recent tribute. "More importantly, she is a truly kind human being who has a strong sense of her faith and infectious warmth that touches all."

"You have left a mark that will not soon be erased," Fasano added.

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