Matt Gaetz

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Matt Gaetz
Matt Gaetz.jpg
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 4th district
Assumed office
November 16, 2010
Preceded by Ray Sansom
Personal details
Born (1982-05-07) May 7, 1982 (age 32)
Hollywood, Florida
Political party Republican
Alma mater Florida State University (B.S.)
College of William and Mary (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Baptist

Matt Gaetz (born May 7, 1982, in Hollywood, Florida) is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 4th District, which includes most of Okaloosa County, since 2010.


Gaetz, is the son of Don Gaetz, a member of the Florida Senate since 2006 and the President of the Senate since 2012. He attended college at Florida State University, from which he graduated in 2003, and law school at the College of William and Mary, graduating in 2007.

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

In 2010, following the resignation of Republican State Representative Ray Sansom, who had briefly served as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, due to corruption charges,[1] Gaetz ran in the special election succeed Sansom in the 4th District, which included southern Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County. In a crowded Republican primary that included Craig Barker, Kabe Woods, former State Representative Jerry Melvin, and Bill Garvie, Gaetz emerged victorious with 43% of the vote. In the special general election, Gaetz defeated Democratic nominee Jan Fernald in a landslide, winning 66% of the vote. He was re-elected without opposition in 2010. In 2012, following the reconfiguration of Florida House of Representatives districts, Gaetz's 4th District had the Santa Rosa County portions removed. He ran for re-election there and won unopposed. Gaetz was re-elected in 2014 without opposition.

While serving in the Florida House of Representatives, Gaetz joined with State Senator Joe Negron to propose legislation that is "designed to accelerate the execution of many of the 404 inmates on Florida's death row" by requiring the Governor to sign a death warrant for those inmates who have exhausted their appeals,[2] noting, "Only God can judge. But we can sure set up the meeting."[3] He also joined forces with State Senator Greg Evers to repeal legislation that requires that 10% of gasoline sold in Florida contain ethanol, saying, "This is the bill that removes and repeals Florida's burdensome ethanol mandate."[4]

Following the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Will Weatherford, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, announced that he would order hearings on the "stand your ground" law that was raised as an issue during the trial.[5] Gaetz, the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, was tasked with reviewing the legislation, and announced before hearings that he would not support changing "one damn comma," though he indicated that he would listen to both sides' testimony during the hearings.[6] Following the conclusion of the hearings, he authored legislation that would allow defendants who successfully used a "stand your ground" defense during their trial "to apply for a 'certificate of eligibility' to expunge information related to 'stand your ground' from their criminal records."[7]

When his subcommittee was considering legislation that would "keep mug shots of people who are charged with crimes off the Internet until they are convicted," Gaetz brought up his 2008 arrest for driving under the influence, arguing that his mistakes made him who he is and that publicly available mug shots "could be a problem for those unaccustomed to publicity."[8]

Gaetz was re-elected unopposed to his third term in the legislature in 2014.

Florida Senate[edit]

Gaetz announced that he would run for the Florida Senate in the 1st District, currently held by his father, State Senator Don Gaetz, in 2016, when his father is term-limited.[9]


  1. ^ Bender, Michael (February 21, 2010). "Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom resigns". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Klas, Mary Ellen (April 25, 2013). "Florida House approves speeding up executions". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ Peters, Justin (November 7, 2013). "Meet the Uncompromising Ideologue Chairing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Hearings". Slate. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ Flanigan, Tom (April 12, 2013). "Ethanol Fuels To Evaporate Under House Bill". WFSU-TV. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Van Sickler, Michael (August 2, 2013). "Weatherford calls for hearings on 'stand your ground'". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ Mitchell, Tia (August 22, 2013). "Matt Gaetz to rally base ahead of Stand Your Ground hearing". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ Mullins, Dexter (March 25, 2014). "Proposed 'stand your ground' amendment would expunge records". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ Van Sickler, Michael (February 18, 2014). "Matt Gaetz wants to talk about his mug shot, but not his arrest". Miami Herald. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  9. ^ Henderson, Jeff (May 13, 2013). "Matt Gaetz Makes It Official, Will Shoot for Dad's Senate Seat in 2016". Sunshine State News. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]