Al LawsonAl Lawson – FL5

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 5 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): US Senator from 2000 – 2010; State Delegate from 1982 – 2000

Featured Quote: 
My Republican colleagues who sat back and watched as the president instigated this anarchy are a part of the problem. They have been complicit and should be ashamed of themselves.

Featured Video: 
Congressman Al Lawson discusses his legislative plans to improve local lives

This week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) voted to protect the right to vote with H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation passed the House on Tuesday, with the 219-212 vote. Named after the late Georgia representative, the bill would restore a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was gutted by the Supreme Court.

“Across the nation, partisan forces are waging the most brazen assault on the ballot box in a generation,” Rep. Lawson said. “Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and doubled down again this year, state and local lawmakers have used this moment to pass a surge of voter suppression laws that are silencing the voices of voters who have long been disenfranchised. This historic bill honors the legacy of its namesake, the late Congressman John Lewis, who devoted his life to securing the sacred right to vote for every American – and all those who sacrificed for this noble cause.”

Summary

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 5 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): US Senator from 2000 – 2010; State Delegate from 1982 – 2000

Featured Quote: 
My Republican colleagues who sat back and watched as the president instigated this anarchy are a part of the problem. They have been complicit and should be ashamed of themselves.

Featured Video: 
Congressman Al Lawson discusses his legislative plans to improve local lives

News

This week, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) voted to protect the right to vote with H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation passed the House on Tuesday, with the 219-212 vote. Named after the late Georgia representative, the bill would restore a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was gutted by the Supreme Court.

“Across the nation, partisan forces are waging the most brazen assault on the ballot box in a generation,” Rep. Lawson said. “Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 and doubled down again this year, state and local lawmakers have used this moment to pass a surge of voter suppression laws that are silencing the voices of voters who have long been disenfranchised. This historic bill honors the legacy of its namesake, the late Congressman John Lewis, who devoted his life to securing the sacred right to vote for every American – and all those who sacrificed for this noble cause.”

Twitter

About

Al Lawson 1

Source: Government page

Congressman Al Lawson is a committed public servant who brings a hard-working, problem-solving spirit to Congress and to the task of creating jobs, improving access to a quality education from the preschool through the post-secondary level and protecting working families. Re-elected for a second term in November 2018 and sworn-in January 3, 2019, Lawson represents Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Congressman Lawson has devoted more than half of his life to public service and is guided by the belief that the greatest gift an individual can give is service to their community. Lawson has served the people of Florida for 28 years in the state legislature as a member of the Florida House of Representative and the Florida Senate.

There, he was a champion for state employees and all working people in North Florida. He fought for pay raises, benefits for state workers and vigorously strived to improve the quality of life for children and the elderly. Lawson garnered national attention as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, where he authored one of the most important environmental laws in the country. This law created the largest state-funded land acquisition program in the United States. He also authored and passed the Apalachicola Bay Protection Act and was the primary sponsor of the Everglades Protection Act. Lawson also received national recognition for his efforts to pass the Rosewood Legislation, which provided reparations to the survivors of Florida’s Rosewood massacre in the 1930s.

In Congress, his district covers all or parts of eight North Florida counties — spanning from Gadsden in the west to Duval in the east. The congressman currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. Last year, he was named ‘One of the Most Active Freshmen’ by Quorum Analytics, for his work in Congress.

Rep. Lawson has led and signed on to several pieces of legislation that call for commonsense gun reform, affordable healthcare for all citizens, college affordability for students, access to funding for small businesses and entrepreneurs, access to mental health services for our nation’s veterans, equal pay, and the eradication of hunger for all families.

He has always dedicated himself to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties and creating a world where all people are ensured of their most basic equal rights. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

As a native of Midway, Florida, Lawson graduated from Havana Northside High School and received his Bachelor’s degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he lettered in basketball and ran track. Lawson went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida State University and completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in Public Administration.

Lawson married his college sweetheart Delores Brooks and they have two adult children, Alfred III and Shani. He is also the proud grandfather of four, Kobe, Samuel and Cameron Lawson, and Harlem Wilson.

Congressman Lawson’s work ethic, problem-solving approach, and ability to build collaborative working relationships with colleagues, regardless of political party, in Florida serve him well in Washington, D.C. As a dedicated public servant, Lawson begins each morning with a prayer, and a firm promise “to do the people’s work.” It is this simple philosophy that defines him as a man of character and substance that always keep his promise.

Voting Record

Votes on Bills

  • Committee on Agriculture
    • Subcommittee on Nutrition
    • Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
  • United States House Committee on Financial Services
    • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Housing, Community Development and Insurance
    • Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions

Caucuses 

 

Experience

Work Experience

  • Florida state representative
    1982 to 2000
  • Florida state senator
    2000 to 2010

Education

Personal

Birth Year: 1948
Place of Birth:  Tallahassee, FL
Gender: Male
Race(s): African American
Religion: Christian: Episcopalian
Spouse:  Delores Brooks

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington, DC Office
1406 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-0123, 202-225-2256

Jacksonville Office
117 W. Duval Street Suite 240
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: 904-354-1652, 904-379-0309

Tallahassee Office
435 North Macomb Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: 850-558-9450, 850-577-0633

Web

Government Page, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Politics

Source: none

Campaign Finance

Open Secrets – We Follow the Money

Voting Record

VoteSmart – Key Votes & Ratings

Search

Google

Wikipedia Entry

Alfred James Lawson Jr. (born September 23, 1948),[1] is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 5th congressional district, serving since 2017. The district stretches across most of the border with Georgia, including most of the majority-black areas between Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

A Democrat, Lawson served in the Florida Legislature for 28 years. From 1982 to 2000, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. From 2000 to 2010, Lawson was a member of the Florida Senate (representing the 6th district), where he was elected to serve as the Democratic Leader and eventually rose to the rank of “Dean of the Senate” prior to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. After two failed campaigns for Congress, Lawson defeated incumbent Corrine Brown in the Democratic primary in 2016 and won the general election, finally winning a seat in the House.

Early life and education

Lawson as a state representative, 1984

Lawson as a state senator, 2006

Lawson was born in Midway, Florida, and attended Havana Northside High School where he was a standout athlete in basketball and track. He went on to become a basketball star at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. After a brief stint as a professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks,[2] Lawson returned to Tallahassee where he landed a job at Florida State University as an assistant basketball coach where he helped take the Seminoles to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Lawson also earned his Master of Public Administration from Florida State University.

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2010

Lawson ran for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 2nd congressional district in 2010, challenging seven-term incumbent Allen Boyd.[3] Lawson narrowly lost to Boyd in the Democratic primary,[4] and Boyd lost to Republican newcomer Steve Southerland in the general election by more than 12 percentage points.[5][6]

2012

Lawson ran again for the seat in 2012, and won the Democratic nomination against Blue Dog-endorsed state Rep. Leonard Bembry. He lost to incumbent Republican nominee Steve Southerland in the general election by less than 6 points.[7]

2016

A lawsuit challenging the Florida congressional district map radically changed the 5th district. For the past quarter century, the district and its predecessors had covered most of the majority-black precincts from Jacksonville to Orlando. The new map, however, changed the district to an east–west configuration stretching across all or part of eight counties from Tallahassee to downtown Jacksonville. The redrawn district included Lawson’s home in Tallahassee, and Lawson announced he would run for the 5th on December 15, 2015, setting up a battle against Corrine Brown, the only congresswoman the district had known since its creation in 1993.[8]

On paper, the district’s demographics appeared to be against Lawson. While the district now included most of Tallahassee, the capital and its suburbs only accounted for 32 percent of the district’s population, while the Jacksonville area accounted for 61 percent.[9]
However, his bid received a significant boost in July 2016, when Brown was indicted on federal corruption charges.[10] He defeated Brown in the Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic district—on August 30, 2016. He then defeated Republican Glo Smith in the general election on November 8 with 64% of the vote.[11]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Gun law

Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, Lawson expressed frustration with the lack of action on gun regulation and placed blame on lobbying organizations, saying “the stranglehold of the gun lobby has gone on long enough”.[14]
Lawson supports restriction on assault weapons.[15]
In 2017, Lawson voted no on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would require all states to recognize concealed carry permits issued in other states.[16][17] Additionally, those with concealed carry permits would be permitted to carry concealed weapons in school zones.[18]
Lawson also voted no on the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would have allowed veterans who are considered “mentally incompetent” to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge.[16][19]

Yemeni civil war

Al Lawson was one of five house Democrats who voted for the US to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia and to support the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[20] This vote was part a vote series that allowed debate and votes on the Farm Bill in 2018, which he called a necessary step to provide assistance to farmers in his largely agricultural district.

See also

References

  1. ^ Florida, State Library and Archives of. “U.S. Congressional candidate Al Lawson, at right, speaking with Bob Fulford at a picnic of the Democratic Club of North Florida in Tallahassee, Florida”. Florida Memory.
  2. ^ Gangitano, Alex (22 March 2017). “Florida Democrat talks about his American Basketball Association career”. Roll Call. CQ Roll Call. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  3. ^ Kam, Dara (2009-02-05). “Palm Beach Post Blogs: Area news, sports, entertainment, business & more”. The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  4. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (2010-08-25). “Rep. Allen Boyd holds on in Florida”. Politico. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  5. ^ Helgoth, Ali (2010-11-03). “Southerland defeats Boyd”. The News Herald. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  6. ^ “2010 General Election Results”. Florida Division of Elections. 2010-11-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  7. ^ “November 6, 2012 General Election, Official Results”. Florida Division of Elections. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  8. ^ Caputo, Marc (December 15, 2015). “Lawson announces run for Congress”. Politico.
  9. ^ “Daily Kos Elections congressional district redistribution analysis (post-2010 census)”. Google Docs.
  10. ^ Kelly, Nora (July 8, 2016). “Representative Corrine Brown Indicted on Federal Charges”. The Atlantic.
  11. ^ Gardner, Lynnsey; Moyer, Crystal (August 30, 2016). “After 12 terms in Congress, Corrine Brown defeated”. WJXT. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  12. ^ “Membership”. Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  13. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Leary, Alex (15 February 2018). “Florida Democrats say school massacre a call for gun control”. Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay, Florida. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  15. ^ Patterson, Steve (7 November 2016). “Al Lawson wins North Florida seat in Congress, replacing U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown”. Jacksonville.com. Jacksonville, Florida. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  16. ^ a b “Al Lawson, Jr.’s Voting Records on Issue”. ISPY. Vote Smart. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  17. ^ Mosendz, Polly (2017-11-29). “Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States”. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  18. ^ Kruzel, John (2017-12-07). “Concealed carry bill lets states regulate guns in schools”. Politifact. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  19. ^ Caplan, Andrew (21 February 2018). “Your leaders: 4-1 against stricter gun laws”. The Gainesville Sun. Gainesville, Florida. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  20. ^ Fuller, Matt; Ahmed, Akbar Shahid. “5 Democrats Bail Out Paul Ryan And Protect Saudi Arabia”. Huffington Post.

External links

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 9th district

1982–1992
Succeeded by

Hurley W. Rudd
Preceded by

Robert Trammell
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 8th district

1992–2000
Succeeded by

Florida Senate
Preceded by

Member of the Florida Senate
from the 3rd district

2000–2002
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of the Florida Senate
from the 6th district

2002–2010
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Minority Leader of the Florida Senate
2008–2010
Succeeded by

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida’s 5th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
274th
Succeeded by


Recent Elections

2018 US Representative

Al Lawson (D)180,52766.8%
Virginia Fuller (R)89,79933.2%
TOTAL270,326

Source: Ballotpedia

Finances

LAWSON JR, ALFRED has run in 9 races for public office, winning 5 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $2,649,899.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

House Committee on Agriculture
House Committee on Financial Services

Subcommittees

Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research
General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations
Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions
Diversity and Inclusion
Housing, Community Development, and Insurance

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Congress.gov

Issues

Source: Government page

Committees

  • Committee on Agriculture
    • Subcommittee on Nutrition
    • Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
  • United States House Committee on Financial Services
    • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Housing, Community Development and Insurance
    • Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions

Legislation

you can learn more about legislation I have sponsored and co-sponsored.

Issues

 

 

 

Democracy

Congress

Click here for more information.

Economy

Jobs & Economy

When working families earn more, America’s economy works better for everyone. Honest, hard work should be rewarded with jobs that pay enough. Too many jobs don’t pay enough to allow Americans to build a good life or save for a secure retirement. It is important to invest in innovation industries, like clean energy, and rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and ports to help our economy grow. For more information concerning work and views related to jobs and the economy, please contact our office.

Education

Education

I believe that a key building block for growing our economy is ensuring a high-quality education for all Americans. Students attend colleges and universities with the hopes of climbing the economic ladder, providing for their families, and working to meet new challenges with ingenuity and expertise. For more information concerning work and views related to education, please contact our office.

Environment

Environment

All Americans have a role to play in protecting Earth. Human activity is leaving a severe footprint on our planet. The effects can be seen in our communities — most recently, with Hurricane Michael, which was the strongest hurricane to ever hit Florida’s panhandle. For more information concerning work and views related to the environment, please contact our office.

Health Care

Health Care

Health care should be available to as many Americans as possible. It is priority to bring down health care costs, stabilize the market and help ensure that more Americans can access the affordable health care they need and deserve. For more information concerning work and views related to health care, please contact our office.

Safety

Hurricane Preparedness

The most important thing that you can do is to be informed and prepared. Disaster prevention includes both being prepared as well as reducing damages. Disaster prevention should include developing a plan. Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family, such as storm surges, flooding and strong wind. Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet should you be separated. Check your insurance coverage. Be advised that flood damage is not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance. Be prepared for possible intense weather by stocking up on non-perishable foods, baby foods or pet foods, blankets, bottled water, batteries, flashlights, medications, a battery powered radio, first aid kit, cash, important documents and any other necessities to last up to seven days. As always, please listen to local weather advisories and continue to monitor the storm. One of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether or not to evacuate. If you are asked to evacuate, you should do so without delay. For more information concerning work and views related to natural disasters, please contact our office.

Veterans

Veterans

Our brave men and women who have fought for our freedom deserve to be taken care of when they return home. Congress must work to ensure our veterans are getting the help they deserve – from job training, to access to health care and education benefits, to finding affordable housing. For more information concerning work and views related to veterans, please contact our office.

X
Stephanie MurphyStephanie Murphy- FL7

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 7 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat

Featured Quote: 
This Select Committee will find the truth of what happened, and why it happened, so we can ensure that it never happens again.

Featured Video: 
Rep. Stephanie Murphy questions witnesses in House investigation of Jan. 6

Stephanie Murphy declares opposition to Joe Biden’s budget as drafted
Florida Politics, Scott PowersSeptember 15, 2021 (Short)
‘There are spending and tax provisions that give me pause.’

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, one of the most influential moderate Democrats in the House, announced Wednesday she cannot support President Joe Biden‘s cornerstone $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act as it is now written.

Murphy, of Winter Park, said in a news release issued late Wednesday that she liked much of the bill, including the “historic provisions to combat the existential threat of climate change.”

But, she added, “there are spending and tax provisions that give me pause.” She did not offer specifics in the news release.

Summary

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 7 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat

Featured Quote: 
This Select Committee will find the truth of what happened, and why it happened, so we can ensure that it never happens again.

Featured Video: 
Rep. Stephanie Murphy questions witnesses in House investigation of Jan. 6

News

Stephanie Murphy declares opposition to Joe Biden’s budget as drafted
Florida Politics, Scott PowersSeptember 15, 2021 (Short)
‘There are spending and tax provisions that give me pause.’

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, one of the most influential moderate Democrats in the House, announced Wednesday she cannot support President Joe Biden‘s cornerstone $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act as it is now written.

Murphy, of Winter Park, said in a news release issued late Wednesday that she liked much of the bill, including the “historic provisions to combat the existential threat of climate change.”

But, she added, “there are spending and tax provisions that give me pause.” She did not offer specifics in the news release.

Twitter

About

Stephanie Murphy 1

Source: Government page

U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy proudly represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. She currently serves on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Trade and the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support.

Previously, Congresswoman Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor after serving as a national security specialist in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. She worked on a wide range of security issues from counterterrorism to foreign military relations to strategic planning for the department. Prior to her public service, Stephanie was a strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting.

Congresswoman Murphy holds a M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary. She lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband and two young children.

Voting Record

Votes on Bills

Committees

Caucuses

  • Democratic National Security Task Force (Co-Chair)
  • Blue Dog Coalition
  • New Democrat Coalition
  • Problem Solvers Caucus
  • Climate Solutions Caucus
  • LGBT Equality Caucus
  • Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus[
  • Future Forum (elected Chair on December 6, 2018)

Experience

Work Experience

  • Faculty
    Rollins College
    2014 to 2016

Education

Personal

Birth Year: 1978
Place of Birth: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Gender: Female
Spouse: Sean Murphy

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington, DC Office
1710 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4035

Orlando Office
225 E Robinson, Suite 525
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: (888) 205-5421

Sanford Office
110 W. First Street, Suite 210
Sanford, FL 32771
Phone: (888) 205-5421

Web

Government Page, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Politics

Source: none

Campaign Finance

Open Secrets – We Follow the Money

Voting Record

VoteSmart – Key Votes & Ratings

Search

Google

Wikipedia Entry

Stephanie Murphy (born Đặng Thị Ngọc Dung; September 16, 1978) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 7th congressional district since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she defeated incumbent Republican John Mica in 2016. The district includes much of downtown and northern Orlando, as well as all of Winter Park, Maitland, Sanford and Altamonte Springs.

Murphy was born in 1978 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before leaving the country with her family in 1979. After growing up in Northern Virginia, Murphy attended the College of William & Mary, afterwards going to Georgetown University. Prior to becoming a member of Congress, she worked as a national security specialist at the United States Department of Defense, subsequently working as an executive at Sungate Capital, and as a business professor at Rollins College.

Murphy is the first Vietnamese-American woman and the second Vietnamese-American overall (after Republican Joseph Cao of Louisiana) to be elected to Congress.[1]

Early life and education

Stephanie Murphy was born Đặng Thị Ngọc Dung (Đặng being her surname) on September 16, 1978, in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), Vietnam.[2] Her family fled Communist-controlled Vietnam in 1979 when she was six months old.[3] Their boat ran out of fuel and they were rescued by the United States Navy while at sea.[4][5] They settled in Northern Virginia, where she grew up.[6]

With the help of Pell Grants and student loans, Murphy attended the College of William & Mary, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. She then went to Georgetown University, from which she received a Master of Science degree in foreign service.[5][7]

Pre-congressional career

After the September 11 attacks, Murphy went to work for the United States Department of Defense as a national security specialist.[5][8] For her service, she received the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award.[9] She worked as an executive on investment efforts and government affairs initiatives at Sungate Capital in Winter Park, Florida, and as a business professor at Rollins College.[7]

In 2013, Murphy was employed by the company 3N2 to lead a design team for new women’s softball pants, ultimately being listed in patent records as an inventor of “NuFit Knickers”. In 2018 Murphy came under criticism after it was revealed her husband’s company has the pants and other sports gear from the company made in China.[10][11]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2016

Murphy declared her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives for Florida’s 7th congressional district in the 2016 elections. She ran against 12-term incumbent Republican John Mica in the general election on November 8, 2016.[6] She was endorsed by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords.[5][12][13] Murphy defeated Mica, receiving 51% of the vote.[14] Murphy is the second Vietnamese-American, after Joseph Cao, to be elected to the United States Congress, and the first Vietnamese-American woman to do so.[5]

Murphy ran in a district that was somewhat bluer than its predecessor after a court-ordered mid-decade redistricting. The old 7th had been a marginal district, even though Mica had won it twice without serious difficulty (he had previously represented a more Republican St. Augustine/Daytona Beach/Orlando district from 1993 to 2013). Mitt Romney narrowly won it over Barack Obama in 2012, with 51 percent of the vote.[15] In contrast, had the redrawn 7th existed in 2012, Obama would have won it with 49.4 percent.[16]

After meeting with President Trump in September 2017, Murphy said that she and fellow Democrats could work with him.[17]

2018

Murphy, according to political commentators, was faced with the challenge of representing an evenly divided district. “Of the three freshman Democrats from Central Florida, which include U.S. Reps. Val Demings, D-Orlando, and Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, Murphy faces the toughest race for re-election,” stated the Orlando Sentinel on January 2, 2018. “I think she has one of the toughest districts in the country,” said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida. “It’s very difficult to please everybody in a swing district, and that’s why it’s so challenging.”[17]

She was re-elected with 57.6% of the vote, defeating Republican Mike Miller.

2020

Murphy was re-elected in 2020 with 55.34% of the vote, defeating Republican Leo Valentín.

Tenure

Murphy was sworn into office on January 3, 2017. She has urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate various bomb threats against Jewish facilities.[18] She joined the Blue Dog Coalition in the 115th U.S. Congress,[19] and was named one of three co-chairs, handling administration, in December 2018 for the 116th U.S. Congress.[20]

With the Democrats winning a majority in the House in 2018, Murphy was named to the Ways and Means Committee.[21]

Murphy endorsed Beto O’Rourke in the 2020 Democratic party presidential primaries in March 2019.[22] After O’Rourke withdrew from the race, Murphy endorsed Michael Bloomberg in January 2020, becoming his campaign’s national co-chair.[23] After Bloomberg withdrew in March 2020, Murphy endorsed Joe Biden.[24]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Joe Biden

As of November 2021, Murphy had voted in line with President Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[31]

Economy and COVID-19 relief

Murphy is a self-identified capitalist.[32][33] She supports a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution, which would prohibit the government from spending more than it takes in on a given year. She views growing federal budget deficits as “major threats to the economy, the future health of America, and national security.”[34][35]

In an April 2020 conference call with business executives and lobbyists, Murphy expressed support for a lobbyist-led effort to reverse a ban in the original CARES Act that blocked business advocacy and lobbying groups from participating in the taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program. The effort included a request to be eligible for an additional $25 billion in government funds for canceled events and other lost revenue from the pandemic.[36]

Murphy was part of an effort by some Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to use the coronavirus outbreak to press President Donald Trump to remove tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods and imported steel and aluminum.[37] After the administration rejected the requests, Murphy and Rep. Joe Cunningham sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting she include a suspension of the tariffs in the COVID-19 relief package and mandate the government refund to businesses the tariffs already paid on imported Chinese goods and imported steel and aluminum.[38][39]

She introduced a bill to make it easier for small business owners to obtain low-interest loans. The bill was passed by the House. She also co-sponsored a law, passed and signed by President Trump, that ensures that small businesses will receive a share of federal government contracts.[17]

Immigration

Murphy supports comprehensive immigration reform to fix what she characterizes as a broken system with one that is “consistent with American values.”[33] She supports a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants and reforms to the visa system to focus on economic development.[33] To demonstrate her support for immigration reform, she posted online a picture of herself wearing an “I Am An Immigrant” t-shirt along with the message, “#IAmAnImmigrant and proud of it. Our nation’s diversity is its strength. Opportunity and freedom keep the American dream alive.”[40]

She was one of 24 House Democrats who voted for Kate’s Law,[41] which proposes to increase the penalties for those who have previously been deported or removed and who are apprehended re-entering the country again.[42]

Murphy opposed President Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban entry into the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, North Korea and Venezuela. “I strongly oppose the President’s executive orders on refugees, which violate fundamental American values and undermine our national security,” she said. “We must work in a bipartisan manner to strengthen our refugee policy in a way that keeps us secure AND upholds our values.”[43]

Gun policy

Murphy decided to run for office when incumbent Republican John Mica accepted a campaign contribution from the NRA two days after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. (The 7th congressional district includes much of Orlando). She won office with the support of gun-control groups, such as Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, which was formed after the Pulse shooting.
Murphy supports universal background checks, as well as prohibiting those on the No Fly List from purchasing firearms.[44]
Murphy has stated, “We should protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, but we should also protect our communities by passing commonsense gun laws.”[45]

In 2017, Murphy introduced the “Gun Violence Research Act” into the United States House of Representatives, which was designed to repeal the 1996 Dickey Amendment, a federal ban on the use of federal funds to fund gun-violence research. Murphy stated that the current ban on gun-violence research was “un-American to its core.”[46]
Following the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, several Republican Congress members indicated that they were in favor of the Gun Violence Research Act, and Murphy ultimately spoke to Vice-President Mike Pence, which she credits with helping the bill pass as an amendment to a budget bill that year.[47] The first grants for studies were issued in October 2020.[48] In March 2018, Murphy said that gun control might be approaching “a tipping point” because the present younger generation “had to grow up where they don’t know anything but school mass shootings. They’re sick and tired of it, and they’re activating.”[49]

Impeachments of Donald Trump

On December 18, 2019, Murphy voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.[50]

On January 7, 2021, Murphy called for President Trump to be removed from office under the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.[51] Murphy voted in favor of President Trump’s second impeachment on January 13, 2021.[52]

Military

Murphy was one of 8 Democrats to oppose a House resolution limiting President Trump’s military actions against Iran without congressional approval.[53][54][55]

National security

In the aftermath of the attack on the capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, Murphy proposed to deny security clearances to QAnon members.[56]

In a December 2020 op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times, Murphy characterized climate change as a “national security threat and economic opportunity” for Florida.[57]

Police reform

Murphy co-sponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a sweeping civil rights and police reform bill that would limit legal protections for police from individual lawsuits, ban chokeholds, create a national registry of police misconduct, grant the Department of Justice more power to investigate local police departments for potential misconduct, among a number of other provisions.[58][59][60]

Murphy authored a statement from the Blue Dog Caucus calling for “swift and systematic change” and calling on Republicans to join them in pursuing police reform.[59]

Personal life

Murphy and her husband, Sean, have two children.[61] She is a Protestant Christian.[62]

See also

References

  1. ^ Weik, Taylor. “Stephanie Murphy Went from Vietnam War Refugee to Member of Congress”. NBC News. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  2. ^ “Candidate Conversation – Stephanie Murphy (D) – News & Analysis – The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report”. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Dunkelberger, Lloyd (October 24, 2016). “John Mica faces major challenge in redrawn district from Stephanie Murphy”. Orlando Weekly. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  4. ^ Bade, Rachael (November 1, 2016). “Top GOP congressman laughs his way to possible defeat”. Politico. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Hassan, Mohamed (November 8, 2016). “5 Things to Know About Stephanie Murphy, First Vietnamese-American Woman Elected to Congress”. NBC News. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b “Democrats find a challenger against Mica”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  7. ^ a b “Stephanie Murphy files to run against John Mica in CD 7 – Florida Politics”. Florida Politics. June 23, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  8. ^ Hackman, Michelle (October 23, 2016). “In Diversifying Florida District, a Challenge for the GOP”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  9. ^ “2020 Great Immigrants Recipient”. Carnegie Corporation of New York. 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  10. ^ Leary, Alex. “Rep. Stephanie Murphy stresses U.S. manufacturing but tied to sports gear made in China”. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  11. ^ Garcia, Eric (November 2, 2017). “Murphy Criticized for Husband’s Company Manufacturing in China”. Roll Call.
  12. ^ Sentinel, Orlando. “Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy endorsed by Gabby Giffords”. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  13. ^ “Barack Obama endorses Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy – Florida Politics”. October 24, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  14. ^ Comas, Martin E. (November 8, 2016). “Political newcomer Murphy pulls stunner, unseats Mica; Demings defeats Lowe”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  15. ^ Presidential results by congressional district for districts used in 2012 and 2014, courtesy Daily Kos
  16. ^ Presidential results by congressional district for districts used in 2016, courtesy Daily Kos
  17. ^ a b c Lemongello, Steven. “Stephanie Murphy attempts bipartisan balancing act in first year”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Derby, Kevin (February 27, 2017). “Stephanie Murphy Leads Congressional Push for Feds to Investigate Threats to Jewish Centers”. Sunshine State News, Florida Political News. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  19. ^ a b c Powers, Scott (December 21, 2016). “Stephanie Murphy Joining Blue Dogs, New Democrats”. Florida Politics. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  20. ^ “Blue Dog Coalition Elects 3 New Co-Chairs to Lead Them in Next Congress”. Roll Call. November 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Naomi Jagoda (January 9, 2019). “Ten Dem lawmakers added to House Ways and Means Committee”. The Hill.
  22. ^ Peters, Xander. “Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy endorses Beto O’Rourke in 2020 presidential election”. Orlando Weekly. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  23. ^ Powers, Scott (January 17, 2020). “Stephanie Murphy named national co-chair of Mike Bloomberg’s campaign”. Florida Politics. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  24. ^ Lemongello, Steven. “U.S. Reps. Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy endorse Joe Biden”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  25. ^ http://www.dems.gov/coalitions/national-security-task-force/
  26. ^ Lemongello, Steven. “Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto among Democratic ‘Problem Solvers’ holdouts against Nancy Pelosi”. orlandosentinel.com.
  27. ^ “Members”. Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  28. ^ “Members”. LGBT Equality Caucus. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  29. ^ “Members”. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  30. ^ Derby, Kevin. “Stephanie Murphy to Lead 50 House Democrats in Future Forum.” Sunshine State News, December 6, 2018, sunshinestatenews.com/story/stephanie-murphy-lead-50-house-democrats-future-forum. Accessed December 8, 2017.
  31. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). “Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  32. ^ Murphy, Stephanie. “Opinion: I’m a proud Democrat. I’m also a proud capitalist”. Washington Post. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  33. ^ a b c Powers, Scott (September 11, 2020). “In CD 7, Stephanie Murphy touts bipartisan effectiveness in contest with Leo Valentin”. Florida Politics. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  34. ^ Torres, Frank (June 29, 2017). “Stephanie Murphy introduces balanced budget amendment”. Orlando-politics.com. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  35. ^ Powers, Scott (July 6, 2017). “Stephanie Murphy pledges support for balanced budget, then shows it’s not easy”. Florida Politics. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  36. ^ Fang, Lee. “Speaker Pelosi Supports Push for Taxpayer Bailout of Corporate Lobbyists”. The Intercept. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  37. ^ Rodriguez, Sabrina. “Lawmakers press Trump for tariff relief in coronavirus response”. Politico. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  38. ^ Lawder, David; Shalal, Andrea (March 13, 2020). “U.S. Treasury chief dashes hopes for broad tariff cut to fight coronavirus”. Reuters. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  39. ^ Staff. “Stephanie Murphy, Joe Cunningham Urge Congress to Suspend Tariffs as Coronavirus Threatens the Economy”. Florida Daily. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  40. ^ Powers, Scott (August 11, 2017). “Stephanie Murphy lets immigration reform shirt do the talking”. Florida Politics. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  41. ^ Wolf, Colin. “Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings just voted for an incredibly terrible anti-immigration bill”. Orlando Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  42. ^ “H.R.3004 – Kate’s Law”. congress.gov. July 10, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  43. ^ Nielsen, Allison (January 30, 2017). “Florida Congressional Freshmen React to Trump’s Refugee Ban”. Sunshine State News. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  44. ^ Garcia, Patricia (June 12, 2017). “Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy Ran for Office After the Pulse Shooting: Now She’s Taking on the NRA and Steve Bannon”. Vogue. Condé Nast. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  45. ^ “U.S. House District 7 – Stephanie Murphy”. Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. September 26, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  46. ^ Powers, Scott (March 9, 2017). “Stephanie Murphy bill to repeal ban on gun violence research”. Florida Politics. Peter Schorsch. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  47. ^ Ferris, Sarah. “The ‘Velvet Hammer’ leads resurgent Blue Dogs”. Politico. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  48. ^ Powers, Scott (October 8, 2020). “CDC funds first 16 gun violence studies since Stephanie Murphy bill”. Florida Politics. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  49. ^ Gancarski, AG. “Stephanie Murphy anticipates ‘tipping point’ in gun debate”. Orlando Rising. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  50. ^ Panetta, Grace. “WHIP COUNT: Here’s which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump”. Business Insider.
  51. ^ Moyer, Matthew. “Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy calls for 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove President Trump from office”. Orlando Weekly. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  52. ^ “Here’s how the House voted on Trump’s second impeachment”. Politico.
  53. ^ Caplan, Craig (January 9, 2020). “2nd term Florida Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy on voting No on Iran war powers resolution: “I am not prepared to unduly limit our nation’s ability to respond to different contingencies that may arise”. @CraigCaplan. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  54. ^ Murphy, Rep Stephanie (January 9, 2020). “I voted against #WarPowersResolution b/c I’m not prepared to unduly limit our nation’s ability to respond to new & evolving threats. The War Powers Act of 1973 already restricts POTUS’s ability to wage war. Our goals must be peace & the security of all Americans. Full Statementpic.twitter.com/upBQb2KlzP”. @RepStephMurphy. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  55. ^ “Murphy on War Powers Resolution”. U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy. January 9, 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  56. ^ Rogin, Josh (February 3, 2020). “Opinion: Why this congresswoman is working to deny security clearances to QAnon members”. Washington Post. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  57. ^ Murphy, Stephanie. “Climate change is a national security threat and economic opportunity for Florida | Column”. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  58. ^ Edmondson, Catie. “House Passes Sweeping Policing Bill Targeting Racial Bias and Use of Force”. New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  59. ^ a b Powers, Scott (June 9, 2020). “Stephanie Murphy-led Blue Dogs push police reform”. Florida Politics. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  60. ^ Associated Press (June 8, 2020). “Democrats propose sweeping police overhaul; President criticizes”. Florida Politics. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  61. ^ “EMILY’s List Endorses Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District”. July 25, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  62. ^ Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “Religious affiliation of members of 116th Congress” (PDF). pewforum.org. p. 3. Retrieved April 2, 2019.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida’s 7th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by

Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition for Administration
2019–present
Served alongside: Lou Correa, Tom O’Halleran (Communications);
Tom O’Halleran, Ed Case (Policy)
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
277th
Succeeded by


Recent Elections

2018 US Representative

Stephanie Murphy (D)183,11357.7%
Mike Miller (R)134,28542.3%
TOTAL317,398

Source: Ballotpedia

Finances

MURPHY, STEPHANIE has run in 3 races for public office, winning 2 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $5,994,727.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

House Committee on Ways and Means

Subcommittees

Worker and Family Support
Trade

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Other

Issues

Committees

  • Committee on Ways and Means
    • Subcommittee on Trade
    • Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support
  • Select Committee on the January 6 Attack

Legislation

Sponsored and Cosponsored

Issues

Governance

Good Government

“Americans have lost faith in Congress and in their leaders’ abilities to get things done because the system is broken. I’m fighting every day to hold Members of Congress accountable, to roll back congressional perks, and to force them to do their jobs or don’t get paid.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie introduced legislation that would enact a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, flying first class, or getting automatic pay increases.
  • Stephanie supports “No Budget, No Pay,” which requires Members of Congress to pass a budget on time or they don’t get paid.
  • Stephanie introduced a reasonable balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution to force Congress to get its fiscal house in order.
  • Stephanie, endorsed by End Citizens United, is fighting to pass campaign finance reform and supports overturning the Citizens United decision to get dark money out of politics.

Stephanie believes fixing Washington starts with Congress, which is why last Congress she introduced in the FAITH in Congress Act to hold Members of Congress accountable and restore Americans’ faith in their government.

Murphy’s bill would enact a lifetime ban on former Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, it would prohibit Members of Congress from flying first class on taxpayers’ dime, it would stop automatic pay increases for Members of Congress, require Congress to prioritize bipartisan bills, and would require Congress to pass an actual budget every year or they don’t get paid.

It is past time to get control of our deficit spending and for Congress to resume regular order. Last-minute, self-inflicted budget crises and debt ceiling battles destabilize our markets and make it impossible for businesses and federal agencies to plan for the future. That’s why Stephanie supports “No Budget, No Pay” – a bill that simply says if Congress doesn’t do their job and pass a budget and all appropriations bills on time, they don’t get paid until they do.

Passing a budget on time – and then holding spending to that budget – is the only way we’re going to stop runaway deficit spending and start balancing the budget. If that doesn’t work, Stephanie also supports a reasonable balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Her proposal would protect Social Security and Medicare, while also suspending the requirement in times of war, natural disaster, or economic downturn.

By forcing Members of Congress to do their jobs, we will bring certainty to our country and to the markets, and the American people won’t be subjected to manufactured budgeting crises or pointless government shutdowns.

Stephanie also believes there is too much money in politics, which is why she cosponsored and helped pass in the House pass major reform measures, most notably H.R. 1 – a sweeping anti-corruption and campaign finance reform bill that strengthens democracy, returns political power to the people, and forces Congress to actually listen to the American people – not the lobbyists lining their own pockets.

Stephanie is proudly endorsed by End Citizens United and supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which opened the floodgates of dark, special interest money that is damaging our political process and preventing Congress from actually getting results for American families.  She is also a strong advocate for more accountability and transparency in our political process and will fight to take the reins of government back from the special interests.

Economy

Economy & Jobs

“While we’re making progress in central Florida, too many families are struggling with stagnant wages and a rising cost of living. I’m fighting every day to strengthen the middle class because it’s about time working families had an ally in Washington.” – Stephanie Murphy

We need an economy that works for all of us. At the center of our economy should be a robust middle class – where all children grow up in safe, state-of-the-art schools; where college is affordable and workers are paid a livable wage; where every family has access to quality, affordable health care; and where seniors are guaranteed their benefits after a lifetime of hard work.

Here are seven key ways Stephanie is helping to create more good-paying jobs for central Florida and grow our middle class:

  • BETTER EDUCATION:  We must invest more in early childhood and pre-k education and encourage a stronger emphasis in our public schools on STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math). We should support our technical schools with more resources for job training and retraining programs. And, we should make college more affordable, with more Pell Grant funding, lower student loan interest rates, and the ability to renegotiate your loan when interest rates fall.
  • SMARTER TRADE DEALS: Our global economy is more interconnected than it has ever been, but it’s also more competitive. That’s why it’s critical we adopt fairer and smarter trade deals that protect the American worker, support our small businesses and strengthen our middle class. Stephanie supports smart trade deals that raise American wages and help our businesses export more of their goods and products to other countries.
  • FEWER REGULATIONS: As someone who has worked in the private sector and as someone who counseled small businesses and startups, Stephanie knows firsthand how frustrating and harmful bad or senseless regulations can be. That’s why she supports efforts to review rules and regulations to modify or roll back those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, duplicative or overly-burdensome to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She also strongly supports the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, which is the small business watchdog throughout the federal regulatory process.
  • STRONGER INFRASTRUCTURE: We need a strong, robust infrastructure in order to ensure our economy keeps moving, including historic investments in alternative and renewable “green energy” that creates 21st century jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil and helps protect our environment. We must also increase investments in local infrastructure, such as water systems, to keep companies here in Florida. Finally, we need more investments in modern technology infrastructure, such as broadband, so that more budding entrepreneurs can compete in the global marketplace – and so more consumers can buy their products.
  • FAIRER TAXES:  Stephanie supports lower taxes for working families and small businesses, but she voted against the Republican tax scheme that disproportionately gave tax cuts to the super-wealthy and multinational corporations at the expense of the middle class and seniors. This tax scheme skyrocketed our deficit and now Republicans are using the rising national debt as an excuse to go after cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which is exactly why Stephanie voted against the plan in the first place.
  • PUTTING FAMILIES FIRST:  It’s time we put families first and treat women equally in the workplace, which is why Stephanie helped introduce and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Stephanie also supports legislation to protect the rights of employees to collectively bargain and led the fight in the House to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage because if you work 40 hours a week, you shouldn’t be living in poverty. Finally, Stephanie believes Congress should pass paid family and medical leave because no American should ever be forced to choose between taking care of a sick relative and their job.
  • HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES:  We must do more to support budding entrepreneurs and our small businesses because they are the backbone of our economy and employ nearly half of all Floridians. First, we should ensure the Small Business Administration has the resources to support small businesses and entrepreneurs through loans, advocacy and guidance. We should streamline the regulatory process and make it easier to start and grow a small business. Finally, we must also do more to encourage and support women and minority-owned small businesses, which is why Stephanie enacted legislation to fund more Women Business Centers across the U.S.

Education

Education

“Education transformed my life and opened doors for me I never thought possible. Now, I want my two young children – and all children – to get the education they need to achieve their dreams, just like I did as a young girl whose parents brought her to this country with nothing more than high hopes, a strong work ethic, and a belief in the American dream.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie is a strong supporter of early childhood education, standing up to President Trump’s cuts to Head Start and announcing millions in early childhood education funding for central Florida.
  • Stephanie is aggressively working to lower student loan interest rates, increasing Pell Grant funding and making student loans more flexible, including the ability to renegotiate your loan when interest rates fall.
  • When Florida took in new students from Puerto Rico and USVI after Hurricane Maria, Stephanie secured over $100 million for Florida to help school districts absorb the costs of the new students.

As someone whose family immigrated to this country when she was young, public education was the reason Stephanie was able to succeed. Her parents worked blue collar jobs during the day and cleaned office buildings at night so that their children could have a better life. As a result, Stephanie and her brother are the first generation in their family to graduate from college, which they paid through scholarships, Pell Grants and student loans.

Now, as a mother of two young children, Stephanie is very passionate about ensuring every child has access to a quality education in safe, thriving, state-of-the-art schools with smaller class sizes, better summer and after-school programs, and more technology in the classroom. And, she will push for more programs that help schools combat bullying.

Stephanie is a strong proponent of early childhood education and is working across the aisle to ensure every child in America has a strong start and more opportunities. Studies show that investments in early childhood education save communities money in the long term, reducing homelessness, hunger, poverty and crime. Stephanie is fighting for more investments in early childhood education, including standing up to President Trump’s cuts to Head Start and pre-kindergarten and announcing millions in early childhood funding for central Florida. 

Stephanie will also continue to push for a greater emphasis on STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) and more public-private partnerships to ease the transition from school to college to the workplace, including more support for career and technical schools.

You can’t have good schools without good teachers, which is why Stephanie supports giving teachers the tools, training and resources they need to adapt to a rapidly-changing global economy. She is also pushing for commonsense reforms that free educators from teaching to tests and encourage more innovative approaches to learning.

Finally, college debt is way too high and it is crushing the futures of too many young people. Stephanie is aggressively working to lower student loan interest rates, increasing Pell Grant funding and making student loans more flexible, including the ability to renegotiate your loan when interest rates fall.

When Florida did the right thing and welcomed students from Puerto Rico who were fleeing Hurricane Maria, central Florida public schools took on thousands of new students, which put a strain on their financial resources. So, Stephanie got to work and secured over $100 million in emergency funding for schools, colleges, and universities in Florida that took on new students from Puerto Rico to ensure both current and new students got a quality education in Florida.

Environment

Environment

“By protecting Florida’s natural resources, we not only preserve our beautiful state for generations to come, but we also protect our economic way of life and the jobs that come with it.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which is building bipartisan support to address climate change.
  • Stephanie voted to block President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.
  • Stephanie secured critical funding to address harmful algae blooms in Florida.

Stephanie is a strong advocate for our environment, for clean air and water, and for smart investments in green energy that both reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make energy more affordable for Florida families. She is recognized as a leader in protecting our environment, previously earning the support of the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters – both of whom gave Stephanie high marks during her first term in Congress.

Stephanie is also a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of Democrats and Republicans working together to address climate change and pass legislation that protects our environment. Stephanie strongly opposes the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, and she has introduced legislation that would return America to that critical global alliance.

Stephanie is fighting to protect our coastal economies in Florida, which rely on clean oceans, attractive beaches and healthy fisheries. As an avid angler herself, Stephanie wants to ensure her children will always be able to enjoy the same beautiful lakes and coastal waters that other Florida families have enjoyed for generations.

Stephanie strongly opposes additional oil or gas drilling off our coasts and opposes fracking in Florida. In order to reduce fossil fuel consumption across our nation, Stephanie is pushing for a 21st century transportation bill that increases investments in more transportation choices, such as public transit, rail, biking and pedestrian access.

Stephanie is leading the fight to address harmful algae blooms (HABs) in Florida, securing $1 million for NOAA to study the economic impacts of HABs so that policymakers in Florida and Washington recognize the cost of inaction.

Stephanie is also working to increase investments in alternative and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. These investments not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but they also help create 21st century “green collar” jobs right here in Florida. That’s why Stephanie is building support in Congress to permanently extend the wind production tax credit and the solar investment tax credit in a fiscally responsible way.

Health Care

Health Care

“Health care is an individual human right of every American, not a special privilege reserved for the select few.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie is working to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.
  • Stephanie believes we should preserve what works in the Affordable Care Act and fix what needs improvement.
  • Stephanie has introduced a bipartisan plan that will lower premiums for working families and small businesses.
  • Stephanie will protect Medicare from privatization and voted to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

Health care costs continue to be one of the biggest burdens on families and seniors in central Florida, which is why one of Stephanie’s top priorities is to help bring down the costs of health care for families, seniors and businesses.

And, at a time when women’s health care is under attack in Washington, Stephanie is working to protect access to women’s health care and protect women’s rights to make their own private health care decisions free from government intrusion.

For too long, partisan politics have crippled our ability to have meaningful, substantive discussions on health care reform in this country.

While the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect and should be reformed, it has helped countless families. It has allowed people with pre-existing conditions to find affordable health care and young people to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26. It’s reduced the costs of health services for women, prohibited health insurance companies from canceling your coverage when you get sick, ended lifetime benefits caps for people with major illnesses, and extended maternity coverage for women.

Stephanie strongly opposed Republican attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and President Trump’s attempts to undermine the law, all of which has led to increased premiums for Americans.

Stephanie is working with Democrats and Republicans to improve the law and to continue to find ways to decrease costs and increase access to health care across our country. As a leader in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Stephanie worked with her colleagues to develop a plan that would:

  • Keep insurance premiums affordable;
  • Cover chronic conditions;
  • Unburden small businesses;
  • Repeal the medical device tax; and,
  • Make it easier for states to innovate.

Finally, Stephanie is fighting tooth-and-nail to protect Medicare for our seniors, standing up against Republican attempts to privatize the program, raise the eligibility age, or to cut benefits, and she has voted to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

Immigration

Immigration

“My life story is one that can only happen here in America, which is why I’m so proud to be an American and want to continue giving back to the country that gave me so many opportunities.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie believes we must keep our nation safe, while also holding true to American values.
  • Stephanie strongly opposes the President’s border wall, his Muslim ban, and his family separation policy.
  • Stephanie is an original cosponsor of the DREAM Act and voted to pass the bill in the House.
  • Stephanie believes we must pass comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders and ports, creates a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, and reforms our VISA program.

When Stephanie was six months old, her parents fled Communist Vietnam in search of a better life for their children. After being rescued at sea by the U.S. Navy, they came to America where her parents worked multiple jobs around the clock to send her brother and her to college – the first in their family to do so.

When our country was attacked on September 11, 2001, Stephanie left the private sector and eventually joined the Department of Defense as a national security specialist helping to plan counterterrorism and disaster relief efforts globally. She wanted to help protect the country that rescued her family at sea so many years ago.

Today, Stephanie continues to give back and serve her community and country as a Member of Congress fighting for the values, ideals and opportunities that drew her family to this country.

Our immigration system is completely broken, which is why Stephanie supports bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform.

As a former national security specialist, Stephanie understands the need to secure our borders and ports and deport those who pose a threat to public safety. She opposes President Trump’s border wall and his unconstitutional Muslim ban. She strongly opposes separating families at the border and has helped pass legislation to stop this inhumane practice once and for all

She believes we should treat all freedom-loving families who come to this country with respect and establish a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants already in the country who meet certain requirements.

Stephanie is an original cosponsor of the DREAM Act, and she voted to pass in the House this important bill. However, Senator Mitch McConnell refuses to bring this bill to a vote in the Senate, which would almost assuredly pass. Stephanie believes strongly these aspiring Americans did nothing wrong and that this is the only country they have ever known, therefore we must enact the DREAM Act as soon as possible so they may stay home.

Stephanie is also working to streamline the visa and naturalization process and reform our immigration system in a way that helps keep families together, encourages economic development here at home, and continues to ensure America’s role as an economic superpower.

Israel

“Israel is one of America’s most treasured allies, and our relationship is vital to our common security interests. I will keep working to strengthen that bond in Congress.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie believes the U.S. and Israel have an unshakable bond grounded in shared democratic and liberal values and common security interests.
  • Stephanie wrote a measure that is now law that allows additional funds outside the current $500 million a year to go to Israel to defend itself against missile attacks.
  • Stephanie firmly supports a two-state solution with a strong, secure state of Israel alongside a future Palestinian state.

As a former national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Stephanie understands how we can both expand the military partnership that keeps our countries safer while deepening the less visible foundations of a relationship based on a common worldview through regular high-level engagements and strategic planning. As a Member of Congress, Stephanie maintains an open-door policy with community leaders as she engages on these critical issues.

Israeli Security

Stephanie is working in Congress to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) by ensuring that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have the tools they need to deter and defend Israel against the full spectrum of traditional and unconventional threats. Israel, like all countries, has the right to self-defense and must remain prepared to defend itself by itself. In fact, provisions of a bill Murphy introduced, Deterring and Defeating Rocket and Missile Threats to Israel Act, became law and now allows additional funds outside the current $500 million a year to go to Israel to defend itself against missile attacks.  She will continue to promote continued support for Israeli missile defense while exploring opportunities to expand security cooperation in other complex domains like counter-tunneling and cyberspace. In addition to defending Israel on the battlefield, she opposes and has called out anti-Israeli bias and double standards in the United Nations and other international institutions.

Two-State Solution 

The United States and Israel have long shared a vision and strategic interest of an Israel at peace with her neighbors, enjoying the secure, recognized, and permanent borders that only peace can bring. Indeed, as countless members of Israel’s national security establishment have acknowledged, failing to reach a deal constitutes an existential threat to Israeli security.

Israel’s long term security and its Jewish and democratic identity are best guaranteed through a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Stephanie firmly supports a two-state solution with a strong, secure state of Israel alongside a future Palestinian state. U.S. leadership is indispensable to any viable agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. A solution, however, cannot be imposed from the outside, and Stephanie opposes unilateral efforts to circumvent negotiations between the two parties through the United Nations.

Foreign Aid

Foreign aid to Israel is a strategic investment that promotes American interests in the Middle East and facilitates vital cooperation between our two countries. In Congress, Stephanie supports robust aid to Israel in order to preserve Israel’s QME. Though we face a difficult budgetary environment, our support to Israel serves critical U.S. interests by demonstrating our steadfast support to a vital ally, helping Israel improve its defenses in a rapidly changing threat environment, and developing foreign markets while creating jobs at home. Stephanie is encouraged by the constructive cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security officials in the West Bank. Stephanie will support continued U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority in order to preserve the state-building and security efforts in the West Bank that serve the interests of all parties involved, including, according to the Israel’s security services, by helping to counter terror.

Seniors & Veterans

“I believe every Floridian should have the opportunity to retire with dignity and enjoy a quality of life that reflects the appreciation we, as a society, have for their lifetime of hard work. And, as someone who worked alongside our servicemembers at the Department of Defense, I will never back down from supporting our servicemembers, our veterans, and their families.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Notes

  • Stephanie opposes any attempts to privatize Social Security or Medicare, and she is fighting against Republican efforts to do so.
  • Stephanie voted for largest overhaul of prescription drug pricing in decades, which, if enacted, would lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices and by holding prescription drug companies accountable.
  • Stephanie voted to hold VA officials accountable and ensure department heads have the ability to fire employees for failing to perform.
  • The core components of Stephanie’s BATTLE for Servicemembers Act are now law, improving the transition from military to civilian life with training that helps departing servicemembers get an education, learn a skill or trade, or start a small business.

Seniors

As Baby Boomers begin to retire, we are seeing a rapidly growing senior population in Florida and America. Stephanie believes it is our responsibility as a society to protect and empower seniors and veterans and show them the respect they have earned. In particular, she is working to ensure seniors and veterans feel welcomed and appreciated here in Florida.

Stephanie is working to empower seniors to live longer, healthier and more independent lives, starting with protecting Social Security and Medicare. She strongly opposes efforts to privatize Social Security or any similar measures that would gamble seniors’ hard-earned benefits on Wall Street. She also opposes any attempts to cut benefits, raise the retirement age, or pull money out of Social Security to pay for other government programs. While the author of a responsible balanced budget amendment, Stephanie voted against a Republican amendment because it did not have protections for Social Security and Medicare.

Stephanie is also pushing to recalculate the formula that determines cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security retirees because as inflation and prices go up, so should the COLA. And, Stephanie believes that if Social Security beneficiaries don’t get a raise, then neither should Members of Congress.

Stephanie opposes efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher system, which would do nothing but shift the burden of health care from the government on to the backs of seniors. Our seniors deserve better than that. At the same time, Stephanie is fighting to lower the cost of prescription drugs by voting to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices and hold prescription drug companies accountable. She is also working to expand home health care opportunities so that seniors have more choices in how they retire.

Stephanie will also continue to support efforts that combat age discrimination in hiring and employment and will bring federal and state officials together to protect seniors from online scams and predatory practices. Stephanie will never back down from going after these predators.

Veterans

As someone who worked alongside our service members in the U.S. Department of Defense, Stephanie is a strong and tireless advocate for our nation’s service members and veterans. In her role as a national security specialist, Stephanie saw the sacrifice our service members make every day and believes firmly we should have their backs when they come home from the battlefield.

First and foremost, Stephanie is fighting to fix the broken Department of Veterans Affairs because our veterans deserve better than long lines and endless red tape. She has voted to hold VA officials accountable and ensure department heads have the ability to fire employees for failing to perform. She also fought to allow Members of Congress to have mobile offices in VA medical centers so that our veterans have constituent advocates on site to make access to services more convenient.

When our troops come home, we must do everything we can to ease their transition back into civilian life. That means expanding education and job training opportunities for all veterans and stop attempts to cut the Post 9/11 GI Bill that is helping so many veterans and their families go to college. In fact, the core components of Stephanie’s BATTLE for Servicemembers Act are now law, improving the transition from military to civilian life with training that helps departing servicemembers get an education, learn a skill or trade, or start a small business. 

Stephanie is fighting for better and more accessible health care for all veterans, including for drug addiction and mental health issues. Far too many veterans are dying by suicide, and it is past time to increase resources to expand mental health treatment.

Women & Families

“When we empower women, we empower families. When we empower families, we empower America. When we empower America, our potential is limitless.” – Stephanie Murphy

Quick Hits

  • Stephanie helped introduce the bipartisan Paycheck Fairness Act to help ensure equal pay for equal work.
  • Stephanie passed legislation that increases funding for Women’s Business Centers to help more women start and grow their own business.
  • Stephanie supports paid family and medical leave and legislation to prohibit discrimination of LGBTQ Americans.
  • Stephanie strongly supports women’s reproductive rights and has consistently stood up to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

As a wife and mom, Stephanie believes in the importance of family and of creating a better future for our children and grandchildren. She knows that families are stronger when children go to good schools, parents have well-paying jobs, and seniors have quality health care. If we are truly going to restore this nation’s middle class, then we must start by strengthening families.

It’s time to put families first again, and that starts by ensuring both men and women earn equal pay for equal work. Women who work full time and year-round earn, on average, just 79 cents for every dollar men earn – a yearly pay gap of about $10,762, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. That means women and families in America, in total, are losing nearly $500 billion every year – including the more than 15.2 million households headed by women. That’s money that would increase income for working families and pump more money into our economy.

To combat this inequity, Stephanie helped introduce the bipartisan Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women. Stephanie also helped introduce and pass in the House a bill to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage as women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers.

Stephanie believes our nation must do more to support women and minority-owned businesses and help combat systemic barriers in our society that often prevent many of these businesses from succeeding. That’s why Stephanie passed legislation that increases funding for Women’s Business Centers, helping more women start and grow their own small businesses. 

Stephanie is also working to pass paid family and medical leave because no American should be forced to choose between being there for a child or family member and quitting their job. Stephanie also supports measures that make childcare more affordable for more families, along with increased access to early childhood education like Head Start and pre-kindergarten.

At a time when women’s health care is under attack in Washington, Stephanie is strongly defending the rights of women to make their own health care and family planning decisions free from government intrusion, and she has consistently stood up to attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

Stephanie has also stood up for all families, fighting to strengthen LGBTQ rights by helping introduce and pass in the House the Equality Act. The Equality Act is a bipartisan proposal that would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places. The bill still awaits a vote in Mitch McConnell’s Senate.

X
Darren SotoDarren Soto – FL9

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 9 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): State Senator from 2012 – 2016; State Delegate from 2007 – 2012

Featured Quote: 
The #AmericanRescuePlan put shots in arms, money in pockets, & created a plan to #BuildBackBetter. Now, @HouseDemocratsare working with Republican members of the @ProbSolveCaucus & a bipartisan group of 67 senators to improve our infrastructure.

Featured Video: 
Soto Speaks in Support of Bipartisan Efforts to Bring Telecommunications Back to America

Florida Democratic lawmaker tests positive for Covid-19
CNN, Kristin WilsonSeptember 8, 2021 (Short)

Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida, who is fully vaccinated, announced on Twitter Wednesday that he tested positive for Covid-19.

“I recently tested positive for #COVID19, and am grateful to only have mild symptoms, which I credit to the vaccine,” Soto said. “I am currently self-isolating and working remotely. I encourage everyone to #GetVaccinated to save lives!”
Soto is the sixth member of the House to have had a breakthrough Covid-19 diagnosis since early August. Four senators have also contracted the virus after being vaccinated.
Soto says he’s also receiving monoclonal antibody treatment, but stresses that it is “not a substitutive for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“This morning I also received monoclonal antibody treatment to further reduce potential symptoms. This treatment is helpful but not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible: Vaccines.gov.”

Summary

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 9 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): State Senator from 2012 – 2016; State Delegate from 2007 – 2012

Featured Quote: 
The #AmericanRescuePlan put shots in arms, money in pockets, & created a plan to #BuildBackBetter. Now, @HouseDemocratsare working with Republican members of the @ProbSolveCaucus & a bipartisan group of 67 senators to improve our infrastructure.

Featured Video: 
Soto Speaks in Support of Bipartisan Efforts to Bring Telecommunications Back to America

News

Florida Democratic lawmaker tests positive for Covid-19
CNN, Kristin WilsonSeptember 8, 2021 (Short)

Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida, who is fully vaccinated, announced on Twitter Wednesday that he tested positive for Covid-19.

“I recently tested positive for #COVID19, and am grateful to only have mild symptoms, which I credit to the vaccine,” Soto said. “I am currently self-isolating and working remotely. I encourage everyone to #GetVaccinated to save lives!”
Soto is the sixth member of the House to have had a breakthrough Covid-19 diagnosis since early August. Four senators have also contracted the virus after being vaccinated.
Soto says he’s also receiving monoclonal antibody treatment, but stresses that it is “not a substitutive for the COVID-19 vaccine.”
“This morning I also received monoclonal antibody treatment to further reduce potential symptoms. This treatment is helpful but not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible: Vaccines.gov.”

Twitter

About

Darren Soto 1

Source: Campaign page

Darren Soto was elected to Congress in 2016 to represent Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which includes all of Osceola county, and parts of Orange and Polk counties. Darren is proud to be the first person of Puerto Rican descent to serve in Congress from Florida.

Darren Soto is an accomplished lawyer, legislator, environmentalist, and proud progressive representing the diverse, hardworking people of Central Florida in Congress. After graduating law school, Darren went into practice in Orlando to stand up for people in the courtroom (and play music on the side). He became involved with the Young Democrats and was elected to the Florida House at the age of 29. He served for 5 and a half years in the Florida House of Representatives before he was elected to Florida Senate, where he served for 4 years. During his nearly 10 years in the Florida Legislature, Darren worked to bring high-paying, high tech jobs to Central Florida; protect our clean air, land, and water; expand and protect health care; help families facing foreclosure; and improve education.

Darren is a graduate of Rutgers University and George Washington University School of Law. His wife, Amanda, has worked as a math and science teacher in the Osceola and Orange County public schools and is a retired member of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association.

Voting Record

Votes on Bills

Committees

  • United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce
    • United States House Energy Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
    • United States House Energy Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
    • United States House Energy Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change
  • Committee on Natural Resources
    • Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States

Caucuses 

  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus
    • Whip
  • New Democrat Coalition
    • Co-Chair, Technology Task Force
    • Climate Change Task Force
  • Congressional Blockchain Caucus
    • Co-Chair
  • LGBT Caucus
    • Vice-Chair
  • Problem Solvers Caucus
  • Congenital Heart Caucus
  • Safe Climate Caucus
  • Congressional Labor Caucus
  • Black Maternal Health Caucus
  • Everglades Caucus

 

Experience

Work Experience

  • Florida state representative
    2007 to 2012
  • Florida state senator
    2012 to 2016
  • President
    D. Soto Law Offices

Education

Personal

Birth Year: 1978
Place of Birth: Ringwood, NJ
Gender: Male
Race(s): Caucasian
Religion: Christian
Spouse: Amanda Soto

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington, DC Office
1507 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-9889
Fax: (202) 225-9742

Haines City Office
620 E Main Street
Haines City, FL 33844
Phone: (407) 452-1171

Kissimmee Office
804 Bryan Street
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Phone: (407) 452-1171

Lake Wales Office
201 West Central Avenue
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Phone: (407) 452-1171

Winter Haven Office
451 3rd St. NW
Winter Haven, FL 33881
Phone: (407) 452-1171

Web

Government Page, Twitter, Facebook, Campaign Site

Politics

Source: none

Campaign Finance

Open Secrets – We Follow the Money

Voting Record

VoteSmart – Key Votes & Ratings

Search

Google

Wikipedia Entry

Darren Michael Soto (born February 25, 1978) is an American attorney and Democratic politician from Kissimmee, Florida, who is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 9th district.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Soto served for four years in the Florida Senate and five in the Florida House of Representatives, representing parts of the Central Florida area.

Early life and education

Soto was born in the neighborhood of Ringwood, New Jersey, to a Puerto Rican father, O. Lou Soto, and an Italian-American mother, Jean Soto. From 1998 to 2001, he worked for Prudential Insurance in finance while he attended college. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in 2000, a Juris Doctor from George Washington University in 2004, and opened his law practice the following year.

Soto has a bachelor’s degree in economics, and attended law school at George Washington University. In 2006, he was named class counsel in the federal class action brought on behalf of Hispanic voters against the City of Kissimmee in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Soto is a former member of the Civil Service Board for the City of Orlando. He served as the Treasurer of the Orange County Democrats and the Vice President of Communications for the Orange County Young Democrats (YD’s). He was also the YD Co-Host for their Speak Easy events that provide a monthly forum for local and state leaders to speak to young voters.

“My family’s history is the Puerto Rican history in Florida,” Soto has said.[1]

Florida House of Representatives

In 2006, Soto ran for the Florida House of Representatives from the 40th district, unsuccessfully challenging incumbent Andy Gardiner. In April 2007, he emerged victorious from a crowded Democratic primary in a special election to replace John Quinones, who had resigned to run for the Osceola County Commission.[2] In the general election, Soto defeated Tony Suarez, the Republican nominee, by 285 votes. Soto was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2008 and 2010.[3][4][citation needed]

During his three terms in the Florida House, Soto supported laws to curb illegal street racing, passed the “John C Curry” Firefighter Death Benefit Act to protect families of fallen firefighters who died in training exercises, and the Bus Driver Notification Act to help school bus safety.[5][6]

Florida Senate

In 2012, Florida Senate districts were redrawn, and Soto opted not to run for re-election in the House but instead to run for the newly created 14th district, which included predominantly Latino areas of Orange, Osceola, and Polk Counties. He won his party’s nomination uncontested and faced Republican Will McBride.[7] Soto defeated McBride with over 70% of the vote.[8]

In 2013, Soto voted for legislation to expedite driver’s license access for DREAMers but it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Rick Scott,[9] setting off statewide protests.[10] He unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to require jury votes of 10 jurors rather than a majority of 7 for death penalties.”[11]

In 2014, Soto passed legislation answering the Florida Supreme Court‘s call to give it the authority to admit immigrant lawyers to the Florida Bar.[citation needed] He also advocated legislation, giving DREAMers in-state college tuition.[citation needed] He secured the initial state funding to establish a Poinciana Valencia Campus and to initiate the Lake Toho Restoration, which will clean water flowing through the Northern Everglades.[citation needed] In addition, he led the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses in drafting a Congressional Map during the 2014 Special Session on Redistricting.[12]

During the 2015 legislative session, Soto was fundamental in securing $11.9M in funding for Valencia College’s Poinciana campus.[13] Soto also successfully pushed for $20M to restore the Kissimmee River.[14] This earned him the “Champion of the Everglades” award from the Audubon Society of Florida.[15] Soto also proposed legislation to ban fracking in Florida.[16] He secured $10M in Florida’s budget to promote economic growth in Osceola County for a new facility to manufacture high-tech sensors. However, the project was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott.[17] Soto also introduced a bill to boost minimum teacher pay to $50,000 per year.[18][19]

Senator Soto steered funding to his district, including $15M for the UCF Sensors Manufacturing Center, $12M to complete the construction of the Poinciana Valencia College campus,[20] $4M in supplemental school construction money,[21] $750k for the Northern Everglades and Lake Toho initiatives and $150k for a transition house that offers temporary housing for veterans. In 2016, Soto supported Chloe’s Law to construct barriers around water bodies adjacent to state roads,[22] the Deaf Floridian’s ID bill,[23] and the Juvenile Clean Slate bill which automatically seals misdemeanor records for juveniles who reach 21 years of age and do not reoffend as adults.[24]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2016

Soto won the Democratic nomination to succeed Representative Alan Grayson, who had stepped down to run in the primary for U.S. Senate in Florida’s 9th congressional district.[25] Soto earned 36% of the vote in a four-way primary election.[26] The district is Democratic-leaning and contains all of Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk counties. Soto has represented the majority of this district while serving in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. The Orlando Sentinel endorsed him in his primary race, calling him an “effective lawmaker.”[27] Soto won the general election for the seat, defeating Republican Wayne Liebnitzky, 57–43%.[28]

2018

On August 28, 2018, Congressman Soto won the Democratic primary election with 66% of the vote, defeating a challenge from his predecessor Alan Grayson.[29] Soto received endorsements from multiple Democratic organizations in his reelection campaign such as the National Organization for Women,[30] Pride Fund to End Gun Violence,[31] Giffords PAC,[32] Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida,[33] National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare,[34] Equality PAC,[35] League of Conservation Voters,[36] Human Rights Campaign,[37] Florida AFL-CIO,[38] Florida Young Democrats,[39] Orlando Professional Fire Fighters International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1365, Central Florida Police Benevolent Association,[40] Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus,[41] eMgage PAC,[42] Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC,[43] and Planned Parenthood.[44] Soto also has the backing of Vice President Joe Biden,[45] Congressman John Lewis,[46] Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, Florida State Senator Vic Torres, along with every Florida Democratic Member of Congress.[47]

On November 6, 2018, Soto went on to win the general election against Republican Wayne Liebnitzky with 58% of the vote.[48]

2020

Soto ran for reelection to a third term and ran virtually unopposed during the Democratic primary, with only one challenger dropping out in October 2019.[49] During the general election on November 3, 2020, he defeated Bill Olson, his Republican opponent, garnering just over 56% of the vote.[50]

Tenure

Soto is the first Congressman of Puerto Rican descent elected from Florida.[51] In his first few weeks, Soto was named by Nancy Pelosi as one of only three freshmen Members to the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. He was also named co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus New Economy Task Force.[52]

On April 5, 2017, Congressman Soto along with Senator Bill Nelson passed their Hurricane Hunters bill (HR 1008) by amendment to the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. This legislation adds two backup Hurricane Hunter aircraft to the NOAA fleet to increase hurricane monitoring and preparedness.[53]

On December 23, 2017, Soto passed his second bill the “Foreign Spill Protection Act” along with co-introducer US Rep. Carlos Curbelo. The bill eliminates a $1 Billion cap on damages for foreign oil drillers, whose oil spills pollute America’s waters, to better protect Florida’s beautiful coasts.[54]

Soto introduced a bill to rename a Kissimmee Post Office (HR 4042) at 1415 West Oak St after the Borinqueneers. Recently this bill passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law on March 23, 2018. The Borinqueneers were a U.S Army segregated unit of Puerto Ricans who fought in WWI, WWII and Korean War with great distinction and valor. In 2014, they were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for their brave service to our country.[55]

Congressman Soto passed a law to protect billfish, such as marlin, spearfish, and sailfish. H.R. 4528 closes a loophole in the Billfish Conservation Act making it illegal to sell billfish in the continental United States. The law passed the U.S. House on June 25, 2018 and was signed into law on August 2, 2018.[56]

Soto negotiated with Brightline (now Virgin Trains) to build the link between their train and SunRail, ensuring the systems are connected and saving up to $250 million in taxpayer money. When finished, this connection will give SunRail riders the opportunity to travel as far as Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach vía rail.[57]

He is tied for first for most laws passed by a freshman member of the 115th Congress. He also filed the second most bills of any freshman.[58]

Following reelection, Congressman Soto secured a spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee, stating “This appointment will give us a greater voice on behalf of our constituents to promote legislation that creates higher paying jobs, pushes for technological advances, resolves our healthcare crisis, and protects our environment while acting on climate change.” [59]

On June 24, 2019, Soto passed his first law of the 116th Congress, the “Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (SMASH) Act”, which aimed to combat future Zika outbreaks in Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas. According to Soto’s office, the bill “supports and expands programs for mosquito-borne and vector-borne disease, surveillance and control” by extending $100 million in CDC grants to battle mosquitoes through 2023 and ensuring those grants are more focused on battling mosquito-borne diseases, prioritizing areas facing health crises.”[60]

On July 25, 2019, Congressman Soto passed the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 out of the US House in dramatic fashion, as the last bill to pass before the August District Work Period.[61]

On December 18, 2019, Soto voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.[62]

In his second term, Congressman Soto worked with his Central Florida colleagues, Congresswoman Val Demings and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, to renew federal grants to the Central Florida region including over $30 Million for affordable housing and to prevent homelessness,[63][64] $3.25 Million to fund local anti-terrorism efforts,[65] and $1.961 Million for zero-emission Lynx Lymmo buses.[66]

Soto also assisted in securing federal grants of nearly $30 Million for Hurricane Irma disaster relief to Polk and Osceola Counties,[67] over $3 Million for healthcare clinics in Osceola and Polk Counties,[68][69][70] and $250,000 to improve Kissimmee and Winter Haven airports.[71]

In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Soto voted in favor of all 4 pandemic relief packages including the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to help Central Florida and the whole nation combat the coronavirus crisis.[72] He has helped lead Florida’s delegation in securing additional supplies of Remdesivir from his position on the Energy and Commerce Committee during the crisis.[73] On May 15, 2020, Soto voted for the HEROES Act, which passed the U.S. House and provides further pandemic relief. This major legislation included his Save Our Homes Act which helps homeowners save their homes from foreclosure by ending forbearance agreement balloon payments.[74] On October 2, 2020, Soto voted for the updated HEROES Act. This compromise legislation amended the original bill, would provide further pandemic relief and passed the U.S. House. At the time of its passage, the US Senate still had failed to pass a new pandemic relief package.

On June 26, 2020, Soto passed legislation out of the U.S. House designating the Pulse National Memorial in recognition and memory of the 49 angels lost and 53 injured at the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. He introduced this bill along with fellow Central Floridians Congresswomen Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy. Upon its passage, Soto stated “Today, we remind the world that hate will never defeat love, grief can turn into strength and that a place of loss can become a sanctuary of healing. Together, we will continue to open minds and hearts. We will make the Pulse Memorial a national symbol of hope, love and light.”[75]

On July 1, 2020, Soto voted for the Moving Forward Act, a national infrastructure improvement plan. In describing the importance of this landmark bill, he stated, “As our nation continues to confront the coronavirus crisis, this legislation will create millions of good-paying jobs and equip our nation with the 21st-century infrastructure critical to growing our economy and helping our communities prosper for decades to come. Passage of this bold legislation also means more funding to help complete the I-4 Expansion quickly and safely.”[76]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Immigration

Soto is a staunch advocate for DREAMers and has worked with fellow members of the Hispanic Caucus to pass the DREAM Act.[83] In June 2018, Congressman Soto traveled to Homestead, Florida to tour a detention facility with several Democratic Members of Congress where he argued against Trump’s zero tolerance policy and the separation of children and families.[84] He has been a vocal advocate in Congress for Alejandra Juarez, the wife of an Iraq combat veteran and mother of two American daughters, who was deported to Mexico recently due to Trump’s zero tolerance policy. “Zero tolerance literally ripped this family apart,” said Rep. Darren Soto “The administration is so extreme on immigration that they’re deporting the spouses of military veterans.”[85]

Environmental policy

Darren is considered[by whom?] the greenest Member of the Florida Congressional Delegation for 2017. He received a perfect score of 100 for his environmental issues voting record from the National League of Conservation Voters.[86] He introduced the Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2017 (H.R.3961), which passed unanimously out of committee on January 17, 2018. On April 16, 2018, this bill passed unanimously out of the U.S. House.[87] Soto helped lead opposition to the Trump Administration proposals to permit oil drilling off Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts during the House Committee on Natural Resources meetings.[88][89][90] Soto has also supported funding increases for the National Estuary Program the National Wildlife Refuge System program.[91]

On June 6, 2018, Soto passed his Shark and Billfish Protection Act out of House Natural Resources Committee. Senator Bill Nelson passed the Senate companion bill on October 2, 2017.[92]

Gun control

Soto received an “F” rating from the NRA during his first term in Congress and supported numerous gun law reforms. On February 27, 2019, he voted for the Universal Background Check Bill.[93] Soto received an “A” rating from the NRA in 2012,[94] but his views on the Second Amendment changed after the 2012 Newtown Shooting. In the Florida Senate, he became a reliable vote for gun control, which ultimately led to earning a “D” rating from the NRA for his service there from 2013 to 2016.[95]

After the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Soto called for a special session to prevent those on the FBI‘s No Fly List from purchasing firearms.[96]

Since 2017, he has been a reliable vote for gun law reform. After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, he proposed his “Gun Safety Action Plan”. He listed five steps: universal background checks for gun purchases, keeping guns away from those who are a danger to themselves or others, banning assault weapons and bump stocks, creating a “red-flag” system to issue gun restraining orders, and disallowing anyone on the federal terrorism “no-fly” list from buying a gun.[97] Soto also said gun control will be “one of those litmus test issues” in the 2018 midterm elections.[98]

Hurricane safety

Working with Senator Bill Nelson, Soto passed his first law in Congress on April 18, 2017 creating a backup fleet of hurricane hunter aircraft to monitor hurricanes affecting Florida and other nearby areas.[99]

Recovery assistance

Soto is working on debt reduction and tax, healthcare, agriculture and small business relief to assist Puerto Rico in its economic recovery.[100] He also co-signed a bipartisan letter requesting FEMA Designation of Individual Assistance for the citizens of Orange, Osceola, Polk, Lake and Seminole counties after Hurricane Irma.[101] In 2018, he voted to renew recovery funds to Central Florida and Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Personal life

Soto’s major hobby is music and has been writing songs and playing in bands since he was in high school. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist for the local Orlando folk rock band Orange Creek Riders.[102] They have played various live shows, such as Orlando Fringe Festival, Planned Parenthood’s Rock and Roe Concert, Delandapalooza, along with various political events. As part of their “Best Of” series, Orlando Weekly named Orange Creek Riders the “Best Congressional Folk Band”.[103] He also hosts a radio show and podcast called “Rock and Politics”. His show combines current political issues with related music.[104]

On April 1, 2018, Soto’s wife, Amanda Soto, was arrested at Walt Disney World and charged with disorderly intoxication.[105] In a statement, Darren Soto said his wife had been in treatment for depression for years and had recently stopped taking medication in accordance with her treatment plan and under her doctor’s supervision. He went on to say that “she deeply regrets her actions and takes full responsibility for them.”[106]

See also

References

  1. ^ Delgado, José A. (August 15, 2016). “Darren Soto: “My Family is the Puerto Rican History in Florida. El Nuevo Día. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  2. ^ “6 Democrats vie for Quinones’ seat: Winner of March 20 primary faces GOP’s Suarez in April”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  3. ^ “Florida House of Representatives elections for 2008”, Ballotpedia
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  28. ^ Finally! Darren Soto makes history as the first Puerto Rican to represent Florida in the U.S. Congress, , BY Raquel Reichard, November 11, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  29. ^ By $${element.Contributor} (August 28, 2018). “Florida’s Darren Soto Easily Holds Off Alan Grayson Comeback Bid”. Roll Call. Rollcall.com. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  30. ^ “National Organization for Women endorses U.S. Rep. Darren Soto”. Orlando Sentinel. August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  31. ^ “Pride Fund endorses Darren Soto, Val Demings, Carlos Guillermo Smith”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
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  39. ^ “Florida Young Dems endorse Sean Shaw, Jeremy Ring, Darren Soto, Val Demings”. Orlando Rising. May 15, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
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  41. ^ “Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus”. Floridalgbtademocrats.org. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  42. ^ “The policy home for American Muslims”. Emgage PAC. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  43. ^ “Progressive Caucus Endorses Soto – WON”. Westorlandonews.com. March 8, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
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  45. ^ “Biden endorses Soto over Grayson in Florida congressional primary”. Politico.com. May 29, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  46. ^ “Darren Soto picks up endorsement from U.S. Rep. John Lewis”. Florida Politics. May 17, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  47. ^ “Darren Soto endorsed by 10 other members of Fla. congressional district”. Florida Politics. March 16, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  48. ^ “Democrat Darren Soto makes easy return to Congress, handily beating Republican challenger Wayne Liebnitzky for US House District 9 seat”.
  49. ^ Powers, Scott (October 14, 2019). “Democrat Hendrith Smith drops primary challenge to Darren Soto”. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
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  52. ^ “Darren Soto named to Congressional Democrats’ jobs task force – Florida Politics”. floridapolitics.com. September 13, 2017.
  53. ^ “Darren Soto applauds passage of Hurricane Hunter Aircraft back-up bill”. April 5, 2017.
  54. ^ “Carlos Curbelo’s, Darren Soto’s Foreign Spill Protection Act Signed into Law”. December 13, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  55. ^ Darren, Soto (March 23, 2018). “Amendments – H.R.4042 – 115th Congress (2017–2018): To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1415 West Oak Street, in Kissimmee, Florida, as the “Borinqueneers Post Office Building. www.congress.gov. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  56. ^ “New Law Prohibits Sale of Billfish in United States”. Florida Sportsman. August 13, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  57. ^ “Brightline could help connect SunRail to OIA”.
  58. ^ “13 House Freshmen Have Passed Bills This Congress”.
  59. ^ “Darren Soto tapped for House Energy and Commerce committee”. January 10, 2019.
  60. ^ “Soto’s Good-for-Florida Bill to Eradicate Mosquito-Borne Diseases Moves to Trump’s Desk | Sunshine State News | Florida Political News”. June 7, 2019.
  61. ^ “Soto, Rubio look for other ways to protect Venezuelans after bill stalls in Senate”.
  62. ^ “WHIP COUNT: Here’s which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump”.
  63. ^ “Central Florida will receive $7.8 million in federal funding for affordable housing, homelessness”.
  64. ^ “$23 million in housing money heading toward Central Florida”. April 17, 2019.
  65. ^ “More anti-terrorism money coming to Orlando, Miami, Tampa”. August 16, 2019.
  66. ^ @lynxbusorlando (July 26, 2019). “@RepDarrenSoto @EnergyCommerce @USDOT We’re thrilled to receive this grant! Thank you for all your support in our e…” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  67. ^ @RepDarrenSoto (July 11, 2019). “Proud to announce that @fema awarded @PolkCountyFL more than $28M and @OsceolaCountyFl more than $1.6M for…” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  68. ^ “Rep. Soto Announces $2 Million Grant for Poinciana Health Center Program”. March 5, 2019.
  69. ^ “Rep. Soto Announces $300K Grant for Primary Care Medical Services of Poinciana, Inc”. April 5, 2019.
  70. ^ https://www.facebook.com/1245780978850063/posts/2462740260487456?sfns=mo
  71. ^ https://www.facebook.com/1245780978850063/posts/2328513487243468?sfns=mo
  72. ^ “COVID-19 in Congress tracked by GovTrack.us”.
  73. ^ “Florida lawmakers push to bring more Remdesivir to the state as supplies run low”.
  74. ^ “Demings, Soto Support HEROES Act”. May 17, 2020.
  75. ^ “Darren Soto’s Pulse National Memorial bill approved in U.S. House”. June 26, 2020.
  76. ^ “Soto Votes to Pass $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill”. July 6, 2020.
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  81. ^ “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  82. ^ “Featured Members”. Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  83. ^ “Column”. September 5, 2017.
  84. ^ “Wasserman Schultz: Two more South Florida facilities holding children separated from their families. | Tampa Bay Times”. Tampabay.com. June 23, 2018. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  85. ^ “When a Trump supporter’s wife is deported”. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  86. ^ “Darren Soto gets perfect score from Conservation Voters, tops Florida members”. March 1, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  87. ^ “Darren Soto’s Bill Protecting Kissimmee River Clears House Without Opposition”. April 17, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  88. ^ D’Angelo, Chris (January 19, 2018). “Florida Waters Could Still Be Leased For Oil Drilling, Despite Ryan Zinke’s Tweet”. Retrieved July 4, 2018 – via Huff Post.
  89. ^ “Darren Soto pins down Everglades, drilling assurances from interior secretary – Florida Politics”. floridapolitics.com. June 22, 2017.
  90. ^ Conroy, Cathy (July 20, 2017). “Rep. Soto Opposes Oil Drilling, Seismic Testing, in Remarks to Natural Resources Committee”. orlando-politics.com. Political Observer.
  91. ^ “Column: Congress should find money to support estuaries in Tampa Bay, Florida”. October 27, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  92. ^ “Center for Sportfishing Policy”. www.sportfishingpolicy.com. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  93. ^ https://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/67618/darren-soto#.XKdrOZhKiUl
  94. ^ Schneider, Elena (December 15, 2015). “Gun control becomes a litmus test in Democratic primaries”. Politico. Arlington County, Virginia. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  95. ^ Weiner, Jeff. “Entering GOP-led Congress, Democrat Soto no stranger to being outnumbered”. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  96. ^ Rohrer, Gray (June 17, 2016). “GOP, Democrats still battle over gun control in Florida”. Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  97. ^ White, Gary. “Polk lawmakers seek gun law changes, but differ on details”. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  98. ^ “Florida Rep. Darren Soto: Gun Reform Will Be a “Litmus Test” at the Midterms”. Cheddar. Cheddar, Inc. February 28, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  99. ^ Torres, Frank (April 5, 2017). “Darren Soto applauds passage of Hurricane Hunter Aircraft back-up bill”. orlando-politics.com. Political Observer.
  100. ^ Soto, Darren. “Darren Soto: Give power back to people of Puerto Rico”. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  101. ^ Shanklin, Mary. “Trump approves greater FEMA aid for 37 Florida counties”. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  102. ^ Gangitano, Alex (May 9, 2018). “Take Five: Darren Soto”. Roll Call.
  103. ^ “Best Congressional Folk Band 2018”.
  104. ^ Rockin’ Congressman’ Darren Soto aims to rock immigration, voter rights”. January 2, 2019.
  105. ^ Ruiz, Stephen; Lemongello, Steven. “Congressman Darren Soto’s wife arrested at Walt Disney World”. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  106. ^ Lemongello, Stephen Ruiz, Steven. “Congressman Darren Soto’s wife arrested at Walt Disney World”. Retrieved July 4, 2018.

External links

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 49th district

2007–2012
Succeeded by

Florida Senate
Preceded by

Member of the Florida Senate
from the 14th district

2012–2016
Succeeded by

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida’s 9th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
283rd
Succeeded by


Recent Elections

2018 US Representative

Darren Soto (D)172,17258%
Wayne Liebnitzky (R)124,56542%
TOTAL296,737

Source: Ballotpedia

Finances

SOTO, DARREN MICHAEL has run in 8 races for public office, winning 6 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $3,994,023.

Source: Follow the Money

Committees

Committees

House Committee on Energy and Commerce
House Committee on Natural Resources

Subcommittees

Communications and Technology
Consumer Protection and Commerce
For Indigenous Peoples of the United States
Environment and Climate Change

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Congress.gov

Issues

Source: Government page

Committees

    • Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
    • Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
    • Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change
  • Natural Resources 
    • Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States
    • Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife

Leadership

Legislation

Sponsored and Cosponsored

Issues

Economy

Agriculture

Agriculture is an integral part of Central Florida’s thriving economy.  With hard-working farmers, fertile land, a lush climate, and a year-round growing season, we help feed our country and the world. Agriculture and national resource industries manage about two-thirds of our state’s land area.  Conservation and sound environmental management on these lands are critical to maintaining clean water and air, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation areas, and guarding against climate change.

In the 9th District, we have over 300,000 acres of farmland, including the top cattle producing county in Florida (Osceola) and the second-highest citrus producing county (Polk).

Crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries production output and direct employment are:

Osceola: output $108 million; jobs 622

Polk: output $712 million; jobs 11,534

Orange: output $285 million; jobs 2,929
As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Darren is working in Congress to support and grow these industries, maintaining support for workers in these jobs, and the communities that depend on them. He is working on the Agriculture Committee and with the Appropriations Committee to fund research to combat citrus greening, which is hurting our groves. He is working to advance cattle research and provide access to crop insurance for our emerging blueberry and peach growers.

Darren also serves on the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. He is working on this subcommittee to ensure the smooth functioning of commodity exchanges, promote access to agricultural credit, and support rural development and electrification.

Economy

Darren believes the biggest issue facing our District and our Nation is the need for higher paying jobs.  To meet these needs, Darren is working to foster strong long-term job growth by boosting existing high tech sectors in and around our District and supporting the robust tourism and agricultural industries which make up the foundation of our economy.

High Tech

Specifically, Darren supports further development of the University of Central Florida’s Simulation and Training program in East Orlando, developing the biotech industry at Medical City in Lake Nona, promoting sensors manufacturing in Kissimmee-St Cloud, the data storage and cybersecurity industry in Winter Haven, applied engineering programs at Florida Polytechnic in Polk County, and the space industry in neighboring Brevard County.

Over his legislative career, Darren has brought in millions of dollars in investments to support research and development and grow higher paying jobs right here at home.

Tourism

Visitors come from around the world to experience Florida’s beautiful beaches, amazing theme parks, diverse native species, as well as our countless lakes, rivers and springs.

Darren successfully sought a seat on the Natural Resources Committee, to continue his career-long fight to protect our environment and quality of life and keep tourism going strong.  He also supports the investments in airports, roads, railways, and ports infrastructure that we need to help employees get to work and visitors to their destinations.

Agriculture

Darren successfully sought a seat on the Agricultural Committee to support critical jobs for Central Florida and feed America.

He is fighting for continued funding to combat citrus greening which is hurting our groves, to advance cattle research, and to provide access to crop insurance for our emerging blueberry and peach growers.

As a member of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit, Darren is working to ensure the smooth functioning of commodity exchanges, promote access to agricultural credit, and support rural development and electrification.  This work benefits 9th District farmers, consumers, and our economy.

Supporting Working Families

Prosperity begins by making sure America’s working families get ahead in life and can pursue the American Dream.

That’s why Darren supports policies that keep and grow jobs in America, raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, strengthen collective bargaining rights and workplace protections, increase access to quality education and healthcare, and protect Medicare and Social Security for our seniors and future generations.

Finally, Darren is working to assist Florida’s strong cultural and economic partner, Puerto Rico, as our neighbors work to recover from a long recession.  He will work on the Subcommittees on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, and on Oversight and Investigations to ensure fair implementation of the PROMESA Act and assist our friends and family on the Island in returning to economic prosperity.

Selected bills on the economy co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R.357 – Overseas Outsourcing Accountability Act – to require the President to develop and release a comprehensive national strategy to prevent United States employers from overseas outsourcing and offshoring practices that impact the United States workforce.

H.R.255 – Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act – this bill amends the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act to authorize the National Science Foundation to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.

H.R.24 – Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017 – this bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete, within 12 months, an audit of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks.  In addition, the bill allows the GAO to audit the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks with respect to: (1) international financial transactions; (2) deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters; (3) transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; and (4) discussions or communications among Federal Reserve officers, board members, and employees regarding any of these matters.

Education

Education

Education is fundamental to upward mobility and pursuing the American Dream.  Every child must have access to a high-quality K-12 public education, college or technical education, and lifelong learning opportunities.

Federal funding is critical for programs such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Title 1 for economically disadvantaged schools, and to ensure equal access for all students regardless of race, religion, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.  It is equally important that states and local school boards control most educational decisions to avoid over-testing our kids or unneeded bureaucracy.

Access to high quality college, apprenticeship and other technical training for adult learners is essential in our rapidly changing economy.  Central Floridians and all Americans need to be able to develop and enhance their skills to start new careers and fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Darren is fighting to ensure access to low-interest federal student loans with reasonable repayment terms and for job retraining grants to provide technical training for those needing new skills.

Darren is working with members of the Education and Workforce Committee and will file several bills to make access to student loans easier and repayment more affordable.

Selected bills on education co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R.813 – To restore access to year-round Federal Pell Grants.

Environment

Energy & Environment

Darren is committed to expanding our energy mix by incentivizing renewable energy such as solar, wind, biofuels, and hydropower.  Hailing from the Sunshine State, he understands the importance of solar, in particular, to assist with peak generation demands in the middle of an average Florida day when the sun is shining and the air conditioners are running.

Darren also believes we must maintain reliable and affordable electric service by ensuring that our push for renewable diversity is in harmony with continued use of natural gas and nuclear power as appropriate.

It is critical that we meet the energy demands of today while developing the clean energy technology of tomorrow.  It is up to today’s leaders to embrace the long term challenge of combating climate change and saving our planet for future generations.

We must also protect Florida’s natural beauty, pristine beaches and long-term water supply.  It is important for our quality of life, and for our economy.  As a result, Darren opposes off-shore drilling near Florida’s coast and fracking on its lands.

I look forward to working on the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources to resolve these and other major challenges.

Selected bills on energy and the environment co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R. 468 – Foreign Spill Protection Act of 2017 – make foreign facilities liable for removal costs and damages that result from oil spills that reach (or threaten to reach) U.S. navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or the EEZ.

H.R. 502 – To permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund – to make permanent the authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Health Care

Health

Darren will fight to protect Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid for our seniors and our persons with disabilities to safeguard healthcare and financial security for the most vulnerable among us.  Our seniors have paid into these programs their entire lives and have earned these benefits.  Our disabled and their families need our help to give them a reasonable quality of life.

Darren also supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which reaffirms his belief that healthcare is a right for all Americans.  This important legislation protects all Americans with pre-existing conditions, keeps all young people on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, and protects all Americans from going broke if they get sick by prohibiting lifetime caps.

Florida’s healthcare exchange has provided over 1.3 million Floridians with health insurance and is the largest federal exchange in the county.  Floridians also received more healthcare subsidies than any other state.

Darren is open to improving or replacing the Act as long as the same number of people remain covered at the same or lower cost.  However, Darren will oppose any repeal of the Act without replacement, since it would hurt countless Floridians and be catastrophic to our healthcare system.

Selected bills on healthcare co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R. 508 – Seniors Have Eyes, Ear, and Teeth Act of 2017 – to expand Medicare coverage to include eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care.

H.R. 165 – Restoring the Partnership for County Health Care Costs Act of 2017 – allow, an otherwise eligible individual under Title XVI, to receive SSI, Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP benefits.

H.R. 173 – Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017 – repeal the excise tax on employer-sponsored health care coverage for which there is an excess benefit (high-cost plans).

H.R. 166 – Outpatient Mental Health Modernization Act of 2017 – stabilize and modernize the provision of partial hospitalization services under the Medicare Program, and for other purposes.

Immigration

Immigration

Immigration advocates meet with Congressman Soto in Kissimmee.

 

The United States is a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.  Our immigrants are working; our laws are not.  Darren is working to fix them.

Many of our nation’s founders were immigrants, and each generation has benefitted from immigrants who contribute to our economy and society.  For instance, over 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children, creating millions of jobs and untold prosperity.  We only hurt ourselves when we turn away budding job creators, doctors who are willing to work in rural and underserved communities, and others who are contributing to our country. Pushing people into the shadows, limits their contributions to our economy and tax base, makes it more difficult for them to report crimes, and creates uncertainty for their families.

“I believe the answer is comprehensive immigration reform and recognizing the contributions of the immigrants in our communities, and not trying to attack and deport people.” – Congressman Soto

Darren is fighting to empower immigrants to contribute to our community and earn the American Dream.  As a State Senator, he passed legislation to make college more affordable for DREAMers – young people brought to this country through no fault of their own – and to allow them to practice law in Florida.

As a Member of Congress, Darren’s immigration priorities include:

  • Comprehensive immigration reform that would allow people to pay any taxes they owe, get right with the law, and when that’s done, get on the path to citizenship.  Even in a Washington environment that has become more polarized and dysfunctional over the last couple decades, there was bi-partisan consensus around the need for comprehensive immigration reform as recently as a few years ago.
  • Protecting DREAMers, including those who have come out of the shadows through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) recipients.
  • Modernizing the guest worker and visa systems that are vital for our agriculture and tourism industries.

Resources:

Florida Bar Referral: (800) 342-8011

Orange Bar Associates: (407) 422-4551

Community Legal Services: (407) 847-0053

ACLU National Hotline Number: (212) 549-2500

 

Selected bills on immigration co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R.532 – DREAMer Information Protection Act – Information provided by an applicant for deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of the Department of Homeland Security may not be used for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings.

H.R.858 – DREAMers, Immigrants, and Refugees (DIRe) Legal Aid Act – Directs the Department of Justice to make grants to nonprofit legal services providers with immigration law expertise to provide immigration-related legal services and advice to an alien who is a permanent resident, DACA/Refugee status or eligible for, and is in the removal procedures.

H.R.912 – Protecting Immigrants From Legal Exploitation Act of 2017

H.Con.Res.25 – Expressing the sense of Congress on the admission of refugees and immigrants to the United States.- Expressing the sense of Congress on the admission of refugees and immigrants to the United States.

H.R.748 – Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act of 2017 – That if a state or local government has in place any policy that limits compliance with a detainer, federal financial assistance that the state or local government would otherwise receive may not be reduced or withheld by reason of such noncompliance.

H.R.722 – No Funds for Unconstitutional Executive Orders Act – This bill prohibits any federal agency funds, resources, or fees from being used to carry out any of the policy changes set forth in the executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” signed by President Donald J. Trump on January 27, 2017.

H.R.724 – SOLVE Act of 2017 – This bill states that: (1) beginning on January 27, 2017, Executive Order 13769, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” is null and void, shall have no force and effect, and may not be implemented or enforced; and (2) no federal funds may be used to implement or enforce any of the policy changes set forth in such order. Among the order’s major provisions are restrictions on the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants from seven countries and additional limitations on refugee admissions to the United States.

H.R.1006 – To clarify the rights of all persons who are held or detained at a port of entry or at any detention facility overseen by U.S. Customs and Border Protection or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

H.Res.102 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate actions by United States Customs and Border Protection in apparent violation of judicial orders.

Infrastructure

Transporation & Infrastructure

Darren will continue his longtime advocacy for greater infrastructure investment in our District.

First and foremost, he is engaging in critical oversight to help keep the I-4 Ultimate improvements on budget and on time, with an expected completion date of 2022.  An expansion of Central Florida’s main highway is long overdue and is critical to our future growth.

Second, he is closely monitoring SunRail Phase 2 which is set to open in early 2018 and will serve Meadow Woods, Buenaventura Lakes, Downtown Kissimmee and Poinciana.  He is pushing for funding for SunRail Phase 3 to connect SunRail to Orlando International Airport.

Our vision is clear: with these projects, Central Floridians will finally have both rail and car options for their daily commute, and we will alleviate congestion on I-4!

Third, Darren will pursue a new control tower for the Kissimmee airport and a runway extension at Lake Wales along with local officials to continue to foster growth in these communities.

Fourth, Darren is fighting to fully fund and provide regulatory support to the multimodal center at Orlando International Airport which will serve as an international terminal, SunRail Station and Brightline Station.

Under this vision, one day soon, Central Floridians will be able to hop on at any SunRail Station, and take a plane for Orlando International anywhere or high speed train to West Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale, or Miami.

Fifth, Darren will continue to work with local and state leaders to bring new transportation options to Polk County, including the Central Polk Parkway or other alternatives.  We must have additional transportation options beyond US 27 and US 17-92 to keep our community moving forward!

Finally, Darren supports the further development of Florida’s ports in neighboring coastal areas to increase our export capacity for agricultural and manufactured products.

Photo by: Artystyk386 License

Selected bills on transportation and infrastructure co-sponsored by Congressman Soto:

H.R.233 – Safe Freight Act of 2017 – this bill prohibits the operation of a freight train or light locomotive engine used in the movement of freight unless it has a crew of at least two individuals, one of whom is certified by the Federal Rail Administration as a locomotive operator and the other as a train conductor.

Social Security

Seniors

Congressman Darren Soto is fighting for senior citizens and working to secure their earned benefits. With over 170,000 seniors in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, Rep. Soto believes in the safety and protection of our elderly, especially during natural disasters. Preparing for a natural disaster is no easy task, and the elderly are often at a disadvantage.

 

After Hurricane Irma, Darren Soto visited the Good Samaritan Kissimmee Village, which focuses on serving numerous retirees in Central Florida. After witnessing the damage that reduced the village capacity by half, Darren requested and secured immediate assistance from FEMA to support the Kissimmee Village. Rep. Soto has showed compassion and care for our senior citizens and has made it his mission to ensure displaced senior citizens get back to their normal lives.

 

With nearly 1 out of 5 Florida residents over the age of 65, Florida serves one of the largest populations of senior citizens in the country. This is why Darren strongly believes in expanding Medicare coverage to include eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care. He believes in Medicare exclusions of essential services for our elderly such as incidents related to falls, chronic conditions and depression to ensure they live long and healthy lives.

 

Darren also wants to make sure our Florida senior citizens are protected from fraud. The elderly are often targeted by financial predators and Darren is working to ensure the Federal Trade Commission is advised on the malicious ways financial predators go after senior citizens.

 

Recently, Rep. Soto hosted a tele-townhall co-hosted by AARP Florida to speak directly with constituents. If you need assistance with claiming your federal benefits or with health care, please contact Rep. Soto’s District offices.

Puerto Rico

Congressman Soto has been on the front lines leading the fight for Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria made landfall, Soto pushed for disaster relief from the federal government. He’s been working closely with the Puerto Rican government, including with Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Jennifer Gonzalez, on numerous legislative plans that support victims and their families.

Congressman Soto is an original co-sponsor of H.R 4782 “Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act of 2018” that provides additional disaster recovery assistance for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also co-introduced the Humanitarian Disaster Relief Act of 2017 to allow for a temporary waiver of the Jones Act which increased resources for humanitarian relief efforts during the aftermath of the hurricanes.

“Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are in crisis. People are dying and the time for action is now. These are American’s and we can’t turn our backs on them.”

Immediately following the Hurricanes, Rep. Soto visited Puerto Rico to assess firsthand the damaged caused on the island. A few months later, he visited the island again alongside Florida Senator Bill Nelson, to visit schools, hospitals, and to evaluate the damage that remained. Following the visits, he launched a Regional Task Force, consisting of Central Florida’s elected officials and leaders, to address the needs of displaced Puerto Rican evacuees in the district. Since Hurricane Maria, more than 400,00 people have relocated to Florida, many who are in need of assistance. Unfortunately, that number keeps rising.

“The reality is that my fellow Puerto Ricans are still arriving in Florida in great numbers, every day. Our state does not have the resources to manage this influx without any help with transition

Rep. Soto has championed numerous issues directly affecting the Puerto Rican community, including increasing federal funding from FEMA, extending the Transitional Shelter Assistance housing program, and easing the integration process for students who have evacuated to the Florida College System and other local schools. Rep. Soto led multiple letters to federal government agencies requesting continued efforts to help Puerto Ricans.  Efforts ranged from housing assistance to oversight on contracts to rebuild the island.

 “There are children who are in the middle of their school year who could be without a home next week, with their families. We keep urging FEMA to approve an extension of the TSA program beyond the current deadline, particularly for those who aren’t eligible for the Direct Lease program”

Rep. Soto will continue fighting for all Puerto Ricans on the island and the newly arrived constituents in Central Florida.

Womrn

 “I will always stand up for the right of women to make their own health and family planning decisions. I will fight for equal pay for equal work, paid family leave, and policies that support working women and families.”

Throughout his years in public service, Rep. Soto has been a strong advocate for women’s rights, believing women should be treated no less than equal in every regard. While leaps and bounds have been made since our country’s founding, we are still a long way from true equality. Women currently earn about 20% less than their male counterparts for the same work. This gap is one Rep. Soto is steadfastly committed to closing.

“It’s pretty simple: Everyone should get equal pay for equal work.”

Rep. Soto believes it is necessary to support women in business and the workforce. He is a proud supporter of the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act along with the Equal Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act. Rep. Soto has and will continue to sponsor legislation that addresses these issues.

“It’s about more than basic fairness. When women do better, all working families do better. Paying working women what they deserve means more working families can afford to save for college and retirement.”

Aside from the pay gap, women face a number of unique challenges. Women are still fighting for access to paid family leave, affordable childcare, reproductive healthcare, and the right to make their own healthcare decisions.

“In Congress, I will always stand up for the right of women to make their own health and family planning decisions — and I will fight tooth-and-nail any effort to defund Planned Parenthood and take away comprehensive women’s health services.”

In 2015, Rep. Soto was rated 100% and endorsed by the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, and in 2016, he was rated 100% by Planned Parenthood Action Fund. As a Member of Congress, Rep. Soto attended the Women’s March of 2017 & 2018 in solidarity with the grassroots champions of this fight, and is a proud sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2017 as well as the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act of 2017.

“Women have a right to control their own bodies. Reproductive health care decisions should be between a woman and her doctor — and nobody else.”

Women are also disproportionately impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment. Rep. Soto acknowledges the weight of this injustice and has been an active champion against it. In the Florida legislature, he was proud to lead the fight in successfully doubling the statute of limitations for criminals of rape and sexual violence. Now in Congress, Rep. Soto has co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation that support victims and their families.

X
Val DemingsVal Demings – FL10

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 10 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): Chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007 – 2011

Other positions:
Vice Chair, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

Featured Quote: 
Glad to see my friend @Yotuel007 today. From Cuba to Florida to the halls of Congress, we will keep fighting for #freedom for Cuba. Feliz de ver hoy a mi amigo @Yotuel007. Desde Cuba a Florida a el Congreso, vamos a continuar la lucha por la #libertad para Cuba. #PatriaYVida

Featured Video: 
Rep. Val Demings Discusses Announcement Of U.S. Senate Run

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Rep. Val Demings to host community vaccination event
West Orange Times, Annabelle SikesAugust 27, 2021 (Short)

Central Florida residents will be offered yet another opportunity to get vaccinated today.

Rep. Val Demings is hosting a community vaccination event in Tidenville starting at 3:30 p.m.

The event is a partnership between The Florida Department of Health in Orange County, 26Health and Tildenville Missionary Baptist Church, where the event will be held.

Participants will receive a free COVID-19 vaccination and will also then be eligible for other amenities including food, grocery vouchers and a book bag giveaway sponsored by the Department of Health and Tildenville Missionary Baptist Church.

Summary

Current Position: US Representative for FL District 10 since 2017
Affiliation: Democrat
Former Position(s): Chief of the Orlando Police Department from 2007 – 2011

Other positions:
Vice Chair, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations

Featured Quote: 
Glad to see my friend @Yotuel007 today. From Cuba to Florida to the halls of Congress, we will keep fighting for #freedom for Cuba. Feliz de ver hoy a mi amigo @Yotuel007. Desde Cuba a Florida a el Congreso, vamos a continuar la lucha por la #libertad para Cuba. #PatriaYVida

Featured Video: 
Rep. Val Demings Discusses Announcement Of U.S. Senate Run

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Rep. Val Demings to host community vaccination event
West Orange Times, Annabelle SikesAugust 27, 2021 (Short)

Central Florida residents will be offered yet another opportunity to get vaccinated today.

Rep. Val Demings is hosting a community vaccination event in Tidenville starting at 3:30 p.m.

The event is a partnership between The Florida Department of Health in Orange County, 26Health and Tildenville Missionary Baptist Church, where the event will be held.

Participants will receive a free COVID-19 vaccination and will also then be eligible for other amenities including food, grocery vouchers and a book bag giveaway sponsored by the Department of Health and Tildenville Missionary Baptist Church.

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About

Val Demings 1

Source: Government page

Congresswoman Val Demings represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Demings is a lifelong public servant who broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department and her election to Congress.

Val shared a two-room home in Jacksonville, Florida with her six older siblings. Her parents, Elouise, a maid, and James, a janitor, instilled in their children a deep respect for hard work, decency, and responsibility.

Val got her first job at age 14. She worked, saved, and with the sacrifice and hard work of her parents became the first in her family to graduate from college. Her chosen field of study was guided by her parents’ lessons and the police procedurals she had watched on T.V. as a child, which had instilled in her a fundamental sense of right and wrong. With her parents proudly at her side, she received a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University, then went on to receive a Master’s in Public Administration.

Val began her career in Jacksonville as a social worker, working to protect foster children. Then, in the early 1980s, Val was inspired to move to Orlando to join the police force. Despite institutional resistance to the idea of women in law enforcement, she determinedly pushed forward, graduating from the police academy as class president, receiving the Board of Trustees’ Award for Overall Excellence, and earning the reputation of a smart, tenacious, no-nonsense cop.

During her distinguished 27-year career with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), she served in virtually every department, including serving as Commander of the Special Operations. In this role, she was responsible for some of Orlando’s highest profile tasks, including special events and dignitary protection.

In 2007, Val Demings made history when she was appointed to serve as Orlando’s first female Chief of Police.

When Chief Demings took office, she launched into a relentless campaign to reduce violent crime and build new connections with the community. Through the work of Chief Demings and her dedicated officers, OPD reduced violent crime by more than 40 percent.

By making the Orlando community a partner of the department, Chief Demings made the concept of “protect and serve” a tangible presence in Orlando’s most dangerous neighborhoods. She launched innovative programs like Operation Positive Direction, a mentoring program that empowers at-risk students through tutoring, community service, and positive incentives. She also launched Operation Free Palms, a project focusing on rejuvenating Orlando’s most crime-ridden housing complex, the Palms Apartments. By focusing on unorthodox strategies like access to childcare, building playgrounds, a GED program, and job skills training, OPD created an alternative to crime and improved the quality of life in Orlando’s most distressed community.

Rep. Demings is married to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, is a proud mother to three sons, and proud grandmother to five.

Rep. Demings holds an honorary doctorate of laws from Bethune-Cookman University.

Rep. Demings is an active member of St. Mark A.M.E., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Orlando Chapter of the Links, Inc., NAACP Silver Life Member, Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee, Florida Police Chiefs, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, National Congress of Black Women, and numerous other affiliations.

Rep. Demings enjoys spending her very limited free time riding her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic motorcycle. She has completed the O.U.C. half marathon as well as the Walt Disney marathon.

Rep. Demings sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness; Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support), the House Judiciary Committee (Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security [Vice Chair]; Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law), and the House Committee on Homeland Security (Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security).

Demings is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and New Democratic Caucus. She is a member of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board and the Elections Security Taskforce. Besides serving as a Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Congresswoman Demings’ leadership positions include serving as Assistant and Regional Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, Co-Chair of Candidate Recruitment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Voting Record

Votes on Bills

Committees

  • Committee on Homeland Security
    • Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations (Vice Chair)
    • Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
    • Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support
    • Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness

Caucuses 

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)

New Democrat Coalition (New Dems)

Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues (CCWI)

Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls

Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus

House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (Vice Chair)

Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus

Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus

Law Enforcement Caucus

Congressional Florida Ports Caucus

 

Experience

Work Experience

  • Police chief
    Orlando, Fla., police department
    2007 to 2012

Education

Personal

Birth Year: 1957
Place of Birth: Jacksonville, FL
Gender: Female
Race(s): African American
Spouse: Jerry Demings

Contact

Email:

Offices

Washington, DC Office
217 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-2176

Orlando Office
2295 S Hiawassee Rd
Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: 321-388-9808

Web

Government Page, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Politics

Source: none

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Wikipedia Entry

Valdez Venita Demings (née Butler; born March 12, 1957) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative from Florida’s 10th congressional district since 2017. The district covers most of the western half of Orlando and includes much of the area around Orlando’s resort parks. It includes many of Orlando’s western suburbs, including Apopka and Winter Garden. From 2007 to 2011, she was chief of the Orlando Police Department, its first female chief, capping a 27-year career with the department. Demings also serves as first lady of Orange County, Florida since December 4, 2018, when her husband Jerry Demings was sworn in as mayor.

Demings was the Democratic nominee to represent Florida’s 10th congressional district in Congress in both 2012 and 2016. After losing in 2012 to Republican incumbent Daniel Webster, she won in 2016 after the State Supreme Court mandated the creation of a new, majority-black district in Orlando.[1]

On January 15, 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected Demings to serve as an impeachment manager in the first Senate trial of President Donald Trump.[2] In early August 2020, Demings was said to be one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden‘s vice presidential running mate in the 2020 United States presidential election, along with Kamala Harris and Susan Rice.[3] She is a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2022 United States Senate election in Florida.

Early life and education

Valdez Venita Butler was born on March 12, 1957,[4] one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked as a janitor, while her mother was a maid. They lived in Mandarin, a neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. She attended segregated schools in the 1960s, graduating from Wolfson High School in the 1970s.[5]

Demings became interested in a career in law enforcement after serving in the “school patrol” at Dupont Junior High School. She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.[5]

In 1996, Demings earned a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University Orlando.[6][7]

Early career

After graduating from college, Demings worked as a state social worker in Jacksonville for 18 months.[5]

In 1983, Demings applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD); her first assignment was on patrol on Orlando’s west side.[5] Demings was appointed as Chief of the Orlando Police Department in 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.[8][9] From 2007 to 2011, Demings oversaw a 40% decrease in violent crime.[10]

According to a 2015 article in The Atlantic, the Orlando Police Department “has a long record of excessive-force allegations, and a lack of transparency on the subject, dating back at least as far as Demings’s time as chief.”[11] A 2008 Orlando Weekly exposé described the Orlando Police Department as “a place where rogue cops operate with impunity, and there’s nothing anybody who finds himself at the wrong end of their short fuse can do about it.”[12] Demings responded with an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, arguing that “Looking for a negative story in a police department is like looking for a prayer at church” and added that “It won’t take long to find one.” In the same op-ed, she cast doubt on video evidence that conflicts with officers’ statements in excessive force cases, writing, “a few seconds (even of video) rarely capture the entire set of circumstances.”[11]

In 2009, she had her firearm, a Sig Sauer P226R, stolen from her department vehicle while parked at her home; she was issued a written censure. The firearm has not been recovered.[13]

In 2010, an Orlando police officer flipped 84-year-old Daniel Daley over his shoulder after the man became belligerent, throwing him to the ground and breaking a vertebra in his neck.[14] Daley alleged excessive force and filed a lawsuit. The police department cleared the officer as “justified” in using a “hard take down” to arrest Daley, concluding he used the technique correctly even though he and the other officer made conflicting statements. Demings said “the officer performed the technique within department guidelines” but also said that her department had “begun the process of reviewing the use of force policy and will make appropriate modifications.” A federal jury ruled in Daley’s favor and awarded him $880,000 in damages.[11][15][16][17][18]

Demings retired from her position as chief of OPD effective June 1, 2011, after serving with the OPD for 27 years.[19][20][11]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

Demings was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Florida’s 10th congressional district in the 2012 elections.[21] She faced freshman Republican Daniel Webster in a district that had been made slightly more Republican than its predecessor in 2010. Demings narrowly lost, taking 48 percent of the vote to Webster’s 51 percent.[22]

Democrats attempted to recruit Demings to run against Webster again in 2014.[23] She decided to run for Mayor of Orange County, Florida, against Teresa Jacobs, instead.[24] Demings dropped out of the mayoral race on May 20, 2014.[25]

In 2015, Demings announced her candidacy for the 10th district seat after a court-ordered redistricting made the 10th significantly more Democratic ahead of the 2016 elections.[26] Webster concluded the new 10th was unwinnable, and ran for reelection in the nearby 11th district.

Demings won the Democratic Party nomination on August 30[27] and won the general election in November with 65% of the vote.[28][29] She is the third Democrat to win this Orlando-based district since its creation in 1973 (it was numbered as the 5th from 1973 to 1993, the 8th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 10th since 2013).

In her 2018 reelection campaign, Demings was unopposed for a second term.[30]

On May 21, 2020, Demings confirmed she was on “the shortlist” to be Joe Biden‘s vice presidential nominee for the 2020 presidential election. She said she would accept the role if offered.[31] Some critics, including Black Lives Matter activists, attacked her record as Orlando police chief.[32][33] Kamala Harris was officially announced as Biden’s running mate on August 11, 2020. In November 2020, Demings was named a candidate for United States Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden Administration.[34]

Tenure

Demings with Congressional Black Caucus women

Demings was sworn in on January 3, 2017. She is a member of the New Democrat Coalition[35] and the Congressional Black Caucus.[36]

As of November 2021, Demings had voted in line with President Joe Biden‘s stated position 100% of the time.[37]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

2022 U.S. Senate candidacy

In June 2021, Demings announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2022 United States Senate election.[40]

Political positions

Abortion

Demings received a 100% voting score from NARAL Pro-Choice America for 2017, 2018, and 2019.[41] She received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood Action Fund for 2020.[42] She has an F rating from the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.[43]

Civil liberties

Demings received a 70% rating from the American Civil Liberties Union for the 115th Congress.[44]

Gun policy

Demings has stated that she seeks to keep firearms out of the hands of “people who seek to do harm”, saying that the gun control legislation that she supports “isn’t about taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding people.”[45] She supported the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017, which would have provided a lawful method of temporarily confiscating firearms from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. Of the Act, Demings said, “We must do what we can to make sure law enforcement has the tools it needs to more effectively perform the ever more challenging job of keeping us a safe nation. The Gun Violence Restraining Order Act is a major step to doing just that.”[46] After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Demings opposed arming teachers, saying such legislation was “ridiculous”[47] and “only shift the responsibility from lawmakers to others. It shifts the pain, the hurt, and the guilt to school staff who will find themselves out skilled and outgunned in active shooter situations.”[46]

Demings has an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).[48] She has accused the NRA of “hijacking” conversations after mass shootings in the United States to make them about the Second Amendment.[49]

Healthcare

Demings supports and has vowed to defend the Affordable Care Act.[50]

In June 2019 Demings released a congressional report on insulin prices, criticizing manufacturers for raising prices well beyond manufacturing costs and said it was “inexcusable that American families are dying for the sake of corporate profit.”[51]

Impeachments of President Donald Trump

On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.[52] She was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.[53]

On January 13, 2021, Demings voted for the single article of impeachment in the Second impeachment of President Donald Trump.[54]

2021 U.S. Electoral College vote count

Citing the unusually contested 2021 United States Electoral College vote count and the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Demings joined U.S. Representative Cori Bush of Missouri in sponsoring House Resolution 25 on January 11, 2021, seeking to expel the 138 Republican U.S. Representatives who voted to object to the electoral college certification.[55][56][57][58]

Personal life

Her husband, Jerry Demings, is the former Orange County Sheriff and current mayor of Orange County, Florida.[20] He served as the chief of the Orlando Police Department (OPD), the first African American to do so, from 1999 to 2002.[5][7] The two met while on patrol in the OPD; they married in 1988 and have three children.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Florida U.S. House 10th District Results: Val Demings Wins”. The New York Times. New York City. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. ^ DeBonis, Mike (January 15, 2020). “Schiff, Nadler lead group of House managers to prosecute Trump in Senate impeachment trial”. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.