AARP Florida announced Tuesday it has promoted Zayne Smith to Director of Advocacy and added Karen Murillo to its advocacy team.
Smith is an experienced policy advocate with roots in Texas and policy experience at the state and national level. She is leading AARP Florida’s work on long-term care, prescription drugs, health care, utilities, guardianship, state budget and transportation issues.
Smith has also represented AARP Florida on the Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders, Guardianship Improvement Task Force, Professional Fiduciary Council of Florida, Department of Elder Affairs Florida State Plan on Aging Advisory Group, National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition and the Florida Don’t Text & Drive Coalition.
In her new role, Smith will oversee a team of five staff throughout the state and is charged with directing AARP advocacy efforts and strategy on a wide range of issues, including long-term care.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of West Alabama and her law degree from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law.
“We are thrilled to have a strong and passionate advocate like Zayne Smith as Director of Advocacy for AARP Florida,” AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said. “Zayne has spent more than 15 years in government affairs, and more than half that time with AARP fighting for older adults. Her vast experience is a testament to her dedication to our mission of fiercely defending the 50-plus and empowering them to choose how they live as they age.”
Murillo is a former Assistant Statewide Prosecutor and Senior Protection Team Coordinator for the Florida Attorney General’s Office, which recruited her due to her expertise and passion for prosecuting and preventing crimes targeting vulnerable adults and seniors across the state.
At the Attorney General’s Office, Murillo spearheaded efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes against seniors, developed a senior crimes training program for law enforcement and prosecution, augmented the state’s community engagement and outreach for seniors, and drafted and testified on behalf of state legislation expanding protections for Florida’s aging and disabled adult populations.
At AARP Florida, Murillo will serve as Advocacy Manager in the organization’s Tallahassee office.
She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.
“We welcome Karen Murillo to the state office team as Advocacy Manager, and I am confident that her knowledge and experience as a Statewide Prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office will be an incredible asset to our work at AARP. Karen’s efforts to expand protections for Florida seniors and prosecute crimes targeting vulnerable individuals has proven her devotion to serving older adults,” Johnson said.
“Floridians 50+ are facing some of the most critical challenges in life, including affording retirement, finding quality care, access to affordable housing, caregiving, remaining independent as they age, and much more. The experience that Zayne and Karen bring to the table will ensure AARP Florida is well-positioned to advocate for Floridians who are facing these challenges and beyond.”