|Member of the Florida Senate
from the 6th district
October 19, 2011
|Preceded by||Tony Hill|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 15th district
November 5, 2002 – November 2, 2010
|Preceded by||E. Denise Lee|
|Succeeded by||Reggie Fullwood|
March 15, 1956 |
|Alma mater||Florida State College at Jacksonville (A.A.)
Florida State University (B.S.)
Audrey Gibson (born March 15, 1956) is a Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing the 6th district, which includes sections of downtown Jacksonville in Duval County, since 2016. She previously represented the 9th district from 2012 to 2016 and the 1st district from 2011 to 2012. Gibson also served in the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 15th district in downtown Jacksonville from 2002 to 2010.
Gibson was born in Jacksonville, and attended Florida State College at Jacksonville, receiving her associate degree in 1976, and then the Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1978. She worked in public relations and as a legal liaison, eventually taking a job as the business community liaison for the Jacksonville Job Corps Center. In 1999, she ran for a seat on the Jacksonville City Council against Reggie Fullwood, but narrowly lost to Fullwood, receiving 48% of the vote to his 52%.
Florida House of Representatives
When State Representative E. Denise Lee opted to run for a seat in the Florida Senate rather than seek re-election in 2002, Gibson ran to succeed her in the 15th District, which was based in downtown Jacksonville in Duval County. She faced Mack Freeman, a former television reporter, and Rahman Johnson, a Duval County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, in the Democratic primary. Gibson campaigned on attracting high-paying jobs to the region, increasing workforce development, amending the state education funding formula to send more funds to area schools, and on her experience in "people issues," noting, "The function of a legislative leader isn't just thinking of what bills to bring about, it's about connecting to people to make things happen in the district." She ended up defeating her opponents by a comfortable margin of victory, winning 42% of the vote to Freeman's 30% and Johnson's 28%. She faced Adam Norwood, the Libertarian nominee, in the general election, whom she defeated in a landslide with 81% of the vote. Gibson was re-elected without opposition in 2004, and in 2006, was challenged in the Democratic primary by Fullwood, who had defeated her when she ran for the City Council in 1999. The Florida Times-Union endorsed Gibson for re-election, praising her as "a strong leader who deserves more time in office," noting, "Gibson has shown an ability to get things done without membership in the majority party." Ultimately, Gibson won renomination, scoring 57% of the vote to Fullwood's 43%, and advanced to the general election, where she was re-elected without opposition. She was re-elected unoposed once again in 2008, and could not seek another term in 2010 due to term limits.
In 2011, when State Senator Tony Hill resigned from the legislature to serve as Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown's Director of Federal Policy, a special election was called to replace him in the 1st district, which stretched from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach, including parts of southern Duval County, western Flagler County, eastern Putnam County, St. Johns County, and northern Volusia County. Gibson had already filed to run for the Senate in 2012, when Hill would have been prevented from seeking another term due to term limits, so she filed to run in the special election to replace him. She faced former State Representative Terry L. Fields, Ramon Day, and Leandrew Mills in the Democratic primary, and during the campaign, a group supporting Gibson attacked Fields for having a property tax exemption "on a house he says he does not live in." During the campaign, Gibson was endorsed by the Florida Times-Union, which praised her for experience, energy, wisdom, and "ability to work across the aisle to build alliances," specifically noting her advocacy for transportation and economic development. Gibson ended up defeating her opponents by a wide margin, receiving 62% of the vote to Fields's 32%, Day's 3%, and Mills's 3%. She did not face an opponent in the general election and won unopposed.
When the state's legislative districts were redrawn in 2012, Gibson was moved into the 9th district, which included only parts of Jacksonville in Duval County, dropping her previous district's arm down to Daytona Beach. She won her party's nomination unopposed and faced Cherron Newby, the Republican nominee, in the general election. Gibson earned the endorsement of the Florida Times-Union, which praised her as an active legislator who "has focused on developing, saving homes, transportation and education," and criticized her opponent as inexperienced and not qualified for office. Owing to the liberal lean of the district, Gibson defeated Newby with 64% of the vote to win her second term in the legislature.
Gibson's district was redrawn again in 2016 after court-ordered redistricting, and she won re-election to a more compact 6th district in Jacksonville.
- Galnor, Matt (September 6, 2002). "3 in the running for seat vacated by Denise Lee". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "ENDORSEMENT: Gibson stronger choice". Florida Times-Union. August 24, 2006. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Dixon, Matt (July 11, 2011). "Alvin Brown appoints Sen. Tony Hill to bring in federal funds". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Larrabee, Brandon (June 30, 2011). "Jacksonville Mayor-elect names state Senator Tony Hill to his staff, setting off scramble for seat". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Dixon, Matt (September 7, 2011). "Group backing Audrey Gibson attacks Terry Fields". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "Audrey Gibson has experience and energy". Florida Times-Union. September 15, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- "September 20, 2011 Special Primary Senate 1, Democratic Primary". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
- "Audrey Gibson and Mia Jones deserve re-election". Florida Times-Union. October 31, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2014.