Love in The Process: Alice and Sam Kerce

Soft-spoken meets easygoing.

Alice Kerce has been a few places in her life. Born in Peru, she moved to Miami when she was 6, then was off to the University of Central Florida in Orlando for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Somewhere in there, she also managed to spend some time at Yale.

Husband Sam Kerce, on the other hand, was born, raised, college educated and career based in Tallahassee.

“He literally has never left the 10-mile radius,” Alice said. “This is his joke. I’m telling it.”

Lucky for both of them, she landed in Sam’s turf when she was named a gubernatorial fellow during the Rick Scott administration, and assigned to the Department of Juvenile Justice, where he worked in legislative affairs. Toward the end of her graduate fellowship, Alice asked to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the legislative process.

Sam as was assigned to squire her around the Capitol.

“I didn’t know what you looked like or who you were other than I was just supposed to be meeting someone to Alice and taking her around the committees and things like that,” Sam said, setting the scene. “The elevator doors open and there’s like 100 people out there in a packed-up lobby, but saw her. I was like, ‘I hope that’s her.’ And it was.”

While we’d like to say sparks flew, the relationship started as more of a slow burn. She went back to grad school, he stayed in Tallahassee. She returned to the Capitol for a legislative scholars internship, they reconnected, she left again and they texted.

After grad school, Alice returned to Tallahassee to start her career in legislative affairs at Gunster, but shortly afterward, moved to Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. This is when the true romance began.

They began dating and were married in October 2021. Both were named Rising Stars by INFLUENCE Magazine in 2022. Today, she is working as education policy analyst for the “yes. every kid.” foundation, a think tank that promotes school choice. Alice speaks with a quiet voice, but her personal experience combined with a graduate education delving into the subject has made her a strong advocate.

After moving between different state agencies, Sam has landed at the massive Department of Children and Families as Director of Legislative Affairs.

Their politics align, but that doesn’t mean they always agree. “We’ve learned a lot from each other,” he said. Alice puts it this way: “No two people agree — even if you share similar perspectives — on everything. We like getting into those kinds of discussions.”

While their jobs are child-focused, the Kerces’ life has now become centered on one particular child, their 18-month-old son, Leo.

Alice’s and Sam’s parents claim each of them were good babies and it looks like the little guy has inherited their temperaments. “He was a great baby,” Sam said. “He’s getting older but he’s got an awesome personality. Ever since he’s been little, he’s good to go out to restaurants and hang out. And now, he’s more fun.”

Alice relates a story about her easygoing husband with a situation that might have derailed any other relationship.

She was cutting his hair with clippers, but neglected to snap on the guard to cut it at the proper length, leaving Sam with a bald patch.

“I completely took off like a chunk of hair and I felt awful. It was at his parents’ house too. But he just started laughing when I was about to start crying,” she relates. “So for the next two or three weeks, I was putting makeup on him — a little eyebrow pencil — to fill it in.”

Sam remains chill: “I didn’t mind a chunk of hair.”

Soft-spoken meets easygoing.

Rosanne Dunkelberger


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