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Gwen Graham

Gwen Graham American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party

American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party
A.K.A. Gwendolyn Graham
Countries United States of America
Occupations Politician Lawyer Film director
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Law Politics
Gender female
Birth 31 January 1963, Miami Lakes, USA
Age: 57 years
Star sign AquariusAquarius
Politics Democratic Party
Mother: Adele Khoury Graham
Father: Bob Graham
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Washington College of Law
primary school
American University
The details

Gwendolyn Graham (born January 31, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 2nd congressional district from 2015 to 2017. She is the daughter of Bob Graham, the former United States Senator and Governor of Florida. A Democrat, she was a candidate in the Florida 2018 gubernatorial election.

Early life and career

Graham was born in Miami Lakes, Florida, to Bob and Adele (née Khoury) Graham. She has lived in Tallahassee since 1978, when her father became Governor of Florida. Graham graduated from Leon High School in 1980. Her maternal grandfather is of Lebanese and Greek descent; her other grandparents are of Scots-Irish origin.

Graham received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984 and her Juris Doctor from American University's Washington College of Law in 1988. After law school, she worked as an associate at the Andrews & Kurth law firm in Washington, D.C.

In 2003, Graham joined her father's 2004 presidential campaign. When he dropped out of the race following a heart attack, Graham joined Howard Dean's presidential campaign, before ultimately helping coordinate John Kerry's unsuccessful campaign efforts in Florida.

Graham worked for Leon County Schools as an administrator, including as director of employee relations.

U.S. House of Representatives

In 2013, Graham announced her candidacy against incumbent Republican Congressman Steve Southerland in 2014. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced they would target the race and provide support to Graham. Graham was one of just two Democrats in the entire country to defeat an incumbent Republican that year, beating Southerland in the November election by more than 2,800 votes.

Prior to her swearing in, Graham said both parties need new leadership in Congress and that she would not vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House. Graham voted for Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee instead. Graham voted for Cooper again when the House voted on the new Speaker after John Boehner announced his resignation.

Graham was ranked as the ninth most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School. On a scale of zero to one hundred, Graham scores eight as a lifetime rating by the conservative lobbying organization, American Conservative Union. She also scores a 0 on the 2016 Freedom Works ratings, which is associated with the Tea Party Movement.

Graham advocated for Congressional reforms, including legislation to prohibit members of Congress from using federal funds to pay for first-class airfare and a bill to prevent future government shutdowns.

Graham introduced and passed legislation to help Israel develop an anti-tunneling defense system to detect, map, and destroy tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Graham joined Florida Democrats Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, and Alcee Hastings in opposing the Iran nuclear deal.

Focusing on constituent services, Graham returned more than $2.5 million in benefits owed to North Florida seniors, families, and veterans.

Graham voted repeatedly to defend the Affordable Care Act from repeal and supported fixes to the law. She supports the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana in Florida. Graham is pro-choice with a 100% ranking from Planned Parenthood and she supports same-sex marriage and LGBT equality, with a 100% ranking from the Human Rights Campaign.

Graham supports comprehensive immigration reform. She voted to protect the DACA program for young immigrants. She supports bipartisan legislation to grant permanent legal status to refugees of the Haiti earthquake. She voted to place more stringent safeguards on refugee vetting.

Gwen Graham supports gun control. In Congress, she joined Congressman John Lewis in the sit-in against gun violence. She co-sponsored legislation to strengthen background checks and prevent those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.

On the environment, Graham co-sponsored bipartisan legislation with Congressman David Jolly and Senator Bill Nelson to oppose oil drilling off the beaches of Florida. She rallied almost the entire Florida Congressional delegation to support the Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act. She has voted for the Keystone XL pipeline, based on studies that showed the pipeline would generate less greenhouse gases than transporting the oil by rail, truck, and barge. Graham voted in favor of having the Environmental Protection Agency re-examine its Waters of the United States rule with more input from those it would affect. Graham supported Florida counties in their campaigns against fracking in Florida. She used public records to help expose and investigate Governor Rick Scott's response to a massive sinkhole in Central Florida. Graham supports purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee to restore the Everglades River of Grass.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Agriculture
    • Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management
    • Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research
  • Committee on Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
    • Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces

Reaction to redistricting

In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the congressional redistricting plan was a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Fair Districts Amendment. The ensuing court-ordered redistricting shifted most of Tallahassee, which had anchored the 2nd district and its predecessors for almost half a century, to the 5th district. Most of Graham's black constituents were drawn into the 5th as well. To make up for the loss in population, the 2nd was pushed to the south to take in territory from the heavily Republican 3rd and 11th districts. Graham now found herself in what was, on paper, one of the most Republican districts in the nation. Had it existed in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won it with 64 percent of the vote, which would have been his third-best total in the state. By comparison, Romney carried the old 2nd in 2012 with 52 percent of the vote.

Had Graham sought a second term in the redrawn 2nd, she would have been running in a district that was more than 12 points more Republican than its predecessor, even though she would have retained 68 percent of her former territory. Her only other option for representing at least some of her current constituents would have been to run in the Democratic primary for the heavily Democratic, black-majority 5th District against that district's 24-year incumbent, Corrine Brown. Her home in Tallahassee was just outside the boundaries of the 5th district, but members of Congress only have to live in the state they wish to represent. Had Graham run in the 5th, however, she would have been running in a district that would have been more than 67 percent new to her.

In a YouTube video emailed to her fundraising list, Graham announced that she would not run for reelection to the House in 2016, denouncing a process that resulted in Tallahassee being split into "two partisan districts". She said that she was considering running for Governor of Florida in the 2018 election.

2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary election

On May 2, 2017, Graham announced her intention to seek the Democratic Party nomination in the 2018 election to serve as governor of Florida.

Graham's message has focused on improving Florida's public schools, protecting the environment, and supporting economic policies counter to those of Governor Rick Scott, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and implementing required paid sick leave. She pledged to expand Medicaid in Florida if elected Governor. She criticized Trump after he equated counterprotesters with white nationalists at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In her campaigns for Congress and Florida's governorship, she is continuing the Workdays tradition established by her father, where the Grahams spend a shift working alongside Floridians at their jobs. Senator Graham performed 408 Workdays throughout his terms as senator and governor. To date, Congresswoman Graham has performed more than 50.

Graham ultimately lost the nomination to candidate Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee. Following her election defeat, she endorsed Gillum for governor.

Personal life

Graham lives in Tallahassee. She married Mark Logan in 1985, and they have three children together. While raising her children, Graham worked for 13 years as a self-described "stay-at-home mom". Graham and Logan divorced, and she is now married to Stephen Hurm.

Electoral history

Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gwen Graham 126,096 50.5%
Republican Steve Southerland (Incumbent) 123,262 49.3%
Write-in Luther Lee 422 0.2%
Total votes 249,780
Democratic gain from Republican
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Gillum 517,417 34.3%
Democratic Gwen Graham 472,735 31.3%
Democratic Philip Levine 306,450 20.3%
Democratic Jeff Greene 151,935 10.1%
Democratic Chris King 37,464 2.5%
Democratic John Wetherbee 14,355 1.0%
Democratic Alex "Lundy" Lundmark 8,628 0.6%
Total votes 1,508,984
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