By Rafaela Prifti/
Ardian Zika was elected to represent District 37 of Pasco in the Florida State House in 2018 when he began his first term in the legislative body. Dielli was pleased to communicate with the Florida House representative and the first Kosovar Albanian American to be in that seat.
His first campaign video, posted online, narrates briefly his personal story to convey the idea that America is the country where “your place of beginning does not determine your place of becoming.” Representative Zika is a husband, father of five, business owner, banker, conservative, who appreciates the honor of serving in the Florida House of Representatives while being the first Kosovar-Albanian American to do so. His career and personal story exemplify the importance of hard work and dedication to family and strong beliefs. He says that “as an American, who began my journey as an immigrant from Kosovo, I am a product of American exceptionalism.”
At the time of our phone conversation, the Florida State House was engaged in intense legislative sessions. We communicated in English and there were some interjections in Albanian, which in my opinion, he speaks fluently. That is especially noteworthy since he was born in Bar former Yugoslavia, came to United States at a very young age, received his education before moving to Florida in 2005. He ran for office and in 2018 Ardian Zika began his first term as an elected representative in the Florida State House.
Representative Zika was gracious, convivial and forthcoming. To my surprise, he said that I was the first Albanian reporter to contact him. I explained that Dielli is the publication of Vatra, the Pan-Albanian Federation of America, an over-a-century old reputable organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Albanians. Although Vatra’s headquarters are located in New York, there are local offices around the country including Tampa Bay, Clearwater, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale. An informal invitation to visit Vatra was conveyed in support of his work now and in the future to safeguard the rights of Albanians. Representative Zika spoke with enthusiasm about the prospects of a trip to Kosova and Albania next year. We had previously agreed that part of our brief conversation would be conducted via email. I sent some questions about his service and official positions and receive the answers as follows:
Dielli; You have the distinction of being an elected official at the state level and a Kosovar Albanian blazing a trail in the Albanian American community. What does public service mean to you?
Representative Zika: It’s a great honor to serve in the Florida House of Representatives as the first Kosovar-Albanian American. Public service is important in the community. I will continue to work tirelessly in the Florida House of Representatives so that no Floridian is left behind as they embark on their journey toward the American Dream. I will continue to support public policy so everyone has an opportunity to reach the American Dream through upward economic mobility. As an American, who began my American journey as an immigrant from Kosova, I’m a product of American exceptionalism. I am forever grateful to America for blessing me with the gift of a lifetime – the gift of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Dielli: You are a husband, father, a business owner, a member of the Florida House of Representatives. How do personal and public components of your life come together?
Representative Zika: It’s a great honor to serve the community in the Florida House of Representatives. My wife and I are blessed with five beautiful children. We are active in our local church and our community.
Dielli: What are the positions you hold at the Florida House of Representatives currently?
I presently serve as the Vice Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Alternating Chairman of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. I’m also a member of the following House Committees & Subcommittees: Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee, State Affairs Committee, Government Operations Subcommittee, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.
Dielli is proud to bring to its readers an introductory conversation with Ardian Zika, Florida State House Representative with a unique background as Kosovar-Albanian American. A quote on his first campaign video epitomizes what Representative Zika calls a tribute to the land that he loves, “America is still the light piercing the darkness. A beacon leading the world to freedom’s shores.”