Meet Anne Rush: Attorney, Wife and Super Mom!

Where are you from, when did you move to Gainesville, and why?

I grew up in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. It is a rural area. My family’s home was outside city limits. I went to college in Cambridge, MA, just outside Boston. I loved it and wasn’t ready to move back to rural Kentucky after graduation. I met my husband while visiting Florida after college and eventually moved to Gainesville. I’ve been here ever since (but for a short stint in Gulfport, FL for law school).

How do you relax?

A glass of wine, a favorite podcast, and a sewing project.

Where do you like to go for a weekend getaway and why?

It’s been so long since I’ve had a real weekend getaway, that it’s hard to say. Having had our son, working full time takes a lot of time away that could be spent with him, so I want to make sure to be present with him when I am able. That usually means little day outings to places or events.

What do you listen to in your car?

Podcasts. I love “How I Built This”, “Planet Money”, “S-town”, “Criminal Injustice”, “Freakonomics Radio”, “Stay Tuned with Preet”, and “Hidden Brain”. There are several others that I browse as well. I really enjoy being able to use my drive time to better educate myself on a variety of topics related to my work interests, hobbies, national politics, etc.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? How much was you first pay check for?

One of the teachers that ran the FBLA club at school arranged for kids to interview for jobs locally. On a whim, I applied and ended up with a weekend job at McDonald’s. What I learned at the time was that I didn’t want to work at McDonald’s. What I learned later is that despite not showing love in more traditional ways, my dad was a wonderful and loving parent. I didn’t have a driver’s license at the time, so he was dropping me off and picking me up from this job for all my shifts…some of which ran till closing. Only love would make someone drive to McDonald’s at midnight so that someone else could get just more than minimum wage. My first paycheck was probably $125, considering it was the mid 1990’s and about 12 hours a week for a bi-weekly paycheck, minus taxes.

What is in your fridge right now?

Coconut milk, lots of yogurt, eggs – my father-in-law keeps his own chickens, so we have lots of fresh eggs, and tons of different cheeses…and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle muffins – guess who those are for?

If you had $5000 to invest, what would you do with it?

I would use part of it to pay down my student loan, another part to invest in my son’s 529 savings plan, and a part to invest in our community by donating to two local charities, where I serve on their boards of Pace Center for Girls and the Alachua and Sunshine State Babywearing.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. “ – Aesop

Who inspired you as a child?

My high school biology teacher, Carolynn Mitchell. I have read so many articles now about girls being tracked out of math and science fields by teachers, either actively or passively. I was actively tracked INTO these fields by my teachers. My father was a high school calculus teacher, so it was kind of an unspoken rule that my siblings and I would all excel at math. I was on the academic team all through school. In middle and high school, when they did subject matter tests, I was taking math and general studies, and was placing very well in both. Ms. Mitchell convinced me to swap in science for general studies. By my senior year, I was placing first in both categories at the regional level. I went on to attend college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and studied biology. Neither of my parents were up for the campus visit, so Ms. Mitchell actually flew up with me to visit the campus. She was a great teacher. It took many years later for me to realize how fortunate I was to be strongly encouraged in these fields when many girls are discouraged to participate in math and science.

What is your favorite thing to do in Gainesville?

I enjoy all the parks that Gainesville has. My favorite was Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, prior to having my son. With needing to keep him entertained, we’ve been exploring ones we haven’t been to before that are more oriented toward kids. We really enjoy Morningside Nature Center, as he enjoys feeding the animals.

What is your favorite thing to snack on?

Blue Diamond wasabi and soy sauce almonds.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I am a Disney fan. My long-time favorite was Mulan. While that may still be my ultimate favorite, my current most-watched is Moana. I love the break from the normal Disney princess storyline, where a female lead is waiting to be saved by a male support character and that instead the female lead characters are the saviors of not just themselves, but of their whole societies.

What is your favorite meal?

The Taste restaurant has a wonderful, Thai green curry with tofu over rice and with lots of the special house’s chili paste.

What have you always wanted to do but never done?

I have always been interested in travelling to Europe. Growing up and during college, it was financially not feasible. This spring, we are planning to see the Netherlands and Germany, primarily.

What gadget can you not live without, and why?

My iPhone. Whether podcasting, checking email or social media, or using it as an e-reader, I am frequently using it to stay connected, manage obligations for some groups that I participate in (which use Facebook groups for internal discussions), or to kill time when waiting for a case to be called in court. It’s somewhat ironic, as during college, I held out for a long time before getting a cell phone, and now I don’t know how I would manage without one.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Financial math is far more important to learn than calculus! I am still working to pay off my student loans. I wish I had learned more about financial literacy at a younger age before I took on such large financial obligations. My education is absolutely invaluable; however, I would have structured things differently to manage the long term financial consequences better.

What got you interested in law?

I had a biotechnology course during college, where the professor heavily steered the students toward intellectual property law as a companion for scientific research. It piqued my interest at the time and after a distasteful series of events working in a bio-research lab, I decided to redirect from the research side of biology and go to law school with thoughts of working in intellectual property. Once in law school, I became interested in other aspects of law, as well and upon graduation, when I got a job as a public defender to get courtroom experience. I love the versatility of what one can do with a law degree and the power it gives one to help people solve problems in their lives.

What has been an eye-opening moment at work, and why?

During law school, I knew that after graduation, I wanted to work in the public sector to get courtroom experience. I had wanted to be a prosecutor, but instead became a public defender and served in that role for three years. At first, I was a little apprehensive, as it was on the opposite side of what I thought I wanted to do. However, it was an eye-opening and invaluable experience that in retrospect, I wouldn’t trade. It helped me learn to connect, value, and see the humanity of a section of society that I had previously had little to no contact with. It definitely taught me to be a less rigid and more compassionate person and that the legal side of the job was only half of it; being able to communicate, educate, assist in other areas of their lives, and just generally treat people with dignity and respect rather than make them feel rushed through an often-harsh system was just as important as the legal work. I think many people abstractly believe that people who are involved in the criminal justice system are one-dimensional “evil” people. If they had to interact with these people and see them as multi-dimensional, I think our justice system would have a far more educational and corrective focus than a punitive one.

What was your first car and what do you drive now?

My first car was a 1994 red Jeep Cherokee. It had close to 200k miles on it when I got it. My present car is a 2016 blue Subaru Forrester, which is the first car I have ever gotten brand new.

Anne Rush’s first car was a 1994 red Jeep Cherokee.It had close to 200k miles on it when she got it.