Kathy Castor

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Kathy Castor
Kathy castor.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 14th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Connie Mack IV
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 11th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Jim Davis
Succeeded by Rich Nugent
Personal details
Born Katherine Anne Castor
(1966-08-20) August 20, 1966 (age 48)
Miami, Florida
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) William Lewis
Residence Tampa, Florida
Alma mater Emory University (B.A.)
Florida State University (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Presbyterian

Katherine Anne "Kathy" Castor (born August 20, 1966) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 14th congressional district, serving in Congress since 2007. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

The district covers most of Tampa, most of south St. Petersburg, a portion of unincorporated Hillsborough County, and a small section of Temple Terrace.

Early life[edit]

Castor was born in Miami. Her mother, Betty Castor (née Elizabeth Bowe), is a former University of South Florida President, a former Hillsborough County Commissioner, a former Florida State Senator, a former Florida Education Commissioner, and a 2004 United States Senate candidate. Her father, Donald F. "Don" Castor,[1] was a Hillsborough County judge and passed away in April, 2013.[2] Kathy Castor was raised in Tampa and graduated from Chamberlain High School. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Emory University (1988) and a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law (1991). She is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority.

Legal career[edit]

Castor began her legal career as Assistant General Counsel to the Florida Department of Community Affairs. She is the former President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and partner in a statewide law firm. In 2005, Castor was named as the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Woman of the Year in government.

Early political career[edit]

Castor served on the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners from 2002 through 2006. Her primary focus was on health care. She worked to stop seniors and other patients in Hillsborough County’s health care plan from being forced into HMOs.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (Bailout Bill)[edit]

Kathy Castor was the only Democratic member of Congress from Florida to vote against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, also known as the “bailout bill,” stating that: "After thoughtful consideration and review, I voted against President Bush's $700 billion bailout. The Bush plan does not provide sufficient help to middle-class families in the housing squeeze or taxpayer protections.”[3] Instead, she championed programs such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program[4] and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and said it was “the lifeline that really saved the economy.”[5] In Tampa Bay, Recovery Act funds were invested in transportation, education, housing, research, law enforcement and various local infrastructure improvements.[6] The I-4/Crosstown Connector received the largest Recovery Act investment in Tampa Bay, with $105 million to make the completion of the project possible and it opened to the public in 2014. Former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said “This project is the envy of the rest of the country.”[7]

Iraq War[edit]

Since her first congressional campaign in 2006, Kathy Castor has supported a withdrawal of U.S. troops out of Iraq and redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.[8] Her first committee assignment was the House Armed Services and in 2007, she stated: “When you put things in perspective, we’re spending over $10 billion a month in Iraq. We’re not going to be able to recover all that because we’ll have to rebuild the military. They’ve put us in a terrible position. We’re at such a strategic risk right now because of the years spent in Iraq. General Schoomaker testified at our committee that this escalation puts the Army at a huge risk. We will be unable to respond to any other threat to our global security.”[9]

In 2007, Kathy Castor voted to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq.[10] In 2014, during a speech in St. Petersburg, Kathy Castor reflected on her first term in Congress, when the Iraq War was the No. 1 issue being debated. She said: “What really informed my time on the House Armed Services Committee was visiting the VA hospitals here because the James A. Haley Hospital in Tampa is the busiest VA in the country, and is home to one of four polytrauma centers. My visits there, monthly, exposed me to these young heroes who had been wounded overseas and the need for us to take care of them and live up to our responsibilities …”[11]

Education[edit]

Kathy Castor has called the GI Bill for the 21st Century that passed in 2008 despite strenuous opposition by President Bush “one of the most important pieces of legislation that I have cosponsored.”[11] The bill restored full, four-year college scholarships to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from benefits at the time that were only paying about 70 percent of a public college education and 30 percent of a private college education for returning veterans. The legislation also allowed veterans to transfer those benefits to family members.

More recently, Kathy Castor was outspoken on the cuts that the 2013 Republican sequester would create for Head Start programs and research programs at Moffitt Cancer Care and University of South Florida. In a February 2013 letter she wrote to House Speaker John Boehner, she stated: “In addition to cuts to USF and Moffitt, the sequester will deal a harsh blow to students, teachers and our public schools. I fear for the students and families who rely on Head Start for readiness in their critical early learning years. As one of the largest school districts in the nation, Hillsborough County would face particularly steep cutbacks in terms of funding and would severely weaken its ability to provide students with the tools they need to be successful. Dire cuts to students and education are short-sighted.”[12]

Health care[edit]

Kathy Castor has been interested in health care since her first elected position on the Hillsborough County Commission, where she defended the need to fund the county’s indigent health care plan. In 2008, Kathy Castor successfully championed legislation to allow low-income families with overdue medical bills to still be eligible for student loans. Kathy Castor has served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee since 111th Congress.[13] As a member of the Health Subcommittee, she was instrumental in ensuring that health care reform worked for Florida families, businesses, and university medical and nursing colleges. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, Kathy Castor has worked tirelessly to educate neighbors about new patient protections and rights, and enrollment in the new marketplace exchange.[14] She has been critical of Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Florida Legislature for not accepting more than $50 billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid to provide access health care access to more than 1 million Floridians.[15] With the assistance of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals, she and Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington founded the bipartisan Children’s Health Care Caucus, dedicated to building support for ideas that improve the quality of care for children and their access to the quality care.

Political campaigns[edit]

2006[edit]

The House seat in the district became open when five-term Democrat Jim Davis (D) chose to run for governor (he lost to Charlie Crist in November).

Castor won the September 5, 2006 Democratic primary—the real contest in what has long been the only safe Democratic district on Florida's Gulf Coast—defeating challengers Al Fox, Lesley "Les" Miller, Scott Farrell, and Michael Steinberg. She received 54% of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of state Senate Minority Leader Les Miller in the five-way race.

Eddie Adams Jr., an architect and former hospital laboratory technologist,[16] was the only Republican to file. Castor was endorsed by the pro-choice political action committee EMILY's List, the League of Conservation Voters, Oceans Champions, The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times and The Bradenton Herald.

Castor handily won the 2006 November general election, 70% to 30%--becoming the first woman to represent Tampa and St. Petersburg in Congress, as well as only the third representative of this St. Petersburg/Tampa-based district since its creation in 1963 (it was the 10th District from 1963–67, the 6th from 1967–73, the 7th from 1973–93 and has been the 11th since 1993).

2008[edit]

Castor was reelected in November 2008 71% to 29% in a rematch with Adams.

2010[edit]

Castor was challenged by Republican nominee Mike Prendergast, a career military officer who retired in 2008 as a Colonel in the United States Army. Castor was reelected in November 2010 with 60% of the vote to Prendergast's 40%. Though Castor won convincingly, it was still the best showing for a Republican in this district since 1994.

After the 2010 census, Florida gained two more congressional seats. As a result, Castor's district was redistricted from the 11th to the 14th. It was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor won reelection with 70.2 percent of the vote over Republican E. J. Otero.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kathy Castor". RootsWeb. Ancestry.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Salinero, Mike (April 9, 2013). "Don Castor, former Hillsborough judge, dies at 81". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Castor says she was only (Florida) Democrat to vote against the Wall Street bailout.". PolitiFact Florida. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hinman, Michael (November 24, 2008). "Neighborhood Stabilization Program needs beefing up, critics say". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Perry, Mitch (March 7, 2014). "In Tiger Bay speech, Kathy Castor says she understands the rise of the Tea Party". Creative Loafing. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ "What does the Recovery Act Mean for Tampa Bay". Representative Kathy Castor. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ Castor, Kathy (January 3, 2014). "Celebrate the opening of Tampa’s missing link". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ Van Sickler, Michael (November 8, 2006). "Castor tops GOP opponent". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Castor On The Fast Track". Opinion Pieces. Representative Kathy Castor. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Kathy Castor on War & Peace". On The Issues. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Congresswoman Kathy Castor at Suncoast Tiger Bay Club St. Petersburg 3-7-14". AudioBoo Ltd. Retrieved April 19, 2014. [unreliable source?]
  12. ^ "Letter to John Boehner". Representative Kathy Castor. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Kathy Castor (D-Fla.)". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ McNeill, Claire (August 8, 2013). "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor preaches benefits of new health care law". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  15. ^ Moorhead, Molly (May 2, 2013). "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to Gov. Rick Scott: Veto the budget, call lawmakers back to expand Medicaid". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Homepage". Eddie Adams, Jr. for U.S. Congress. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 11th congressional district

2007-2013
Succeeded by
Rich Nugent
Preceded by
Connie Mack IV
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 14th congressional district

2013-Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Vern Buchanan
R-Florida
United States Representatives by seniority
202nd
Succeeded by
Yvette Clarke
D-New York