|Member of the Florida Senate
from the 85th district
|Preceded by||Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 85th district
|Preceded by||Shelley Vana|
|Succeeded by||Patrick Rooney, Jr.|
|Born||August 14, 1980|
|Alma mater||Lynn University (B.A.)|
|Profession||Port security specialist|
|Service/branch||United States Coast Guard|
|Years of service||2005-2013|
|Unit||United States Coast Guard Reserve|
Joseph Abruzzo graduated from Lynn University with a degree in international communications in 2003, and joined the United States Coast Guard Reserve later that year, where he worked as a port security specialist. In 2006, he ran for the Florida House of Representatives from the 86th District, but he lost to Maria Sachs in the Democratic primary. Abruzzo ran for the House again in 2008, but instead, in the 85th District. He was unopposed in the primary, and, in the general election, defeated the Republican nominee, Howard K. Coates, Jr., an attorney. Abruzzo was narrowly re-elected in 2010, defeating Tami L. Donnally.
In 2012, Abruzzo ran for the Florida Senate from the newly created 25th District. In a race that was targeted by the Republican Party of Florida as a potential pick-up opportunity, Abruzzo faced off against Melanie Peterson, an agricultural activist and horse broker.The Palm Beach Post, largely due to his opposition to Governor Rick Scott's proposal to eliminate the corporate income tax, endorsed Abruzzo over Peterson, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, citing his "independent streak" and his record of "working with Republicans as a moderate Democrat," endorsed Abruzzo as well. In the end, the 25th District overwhelmingly elected Abruzzo, who won over Peterson with 57% of the vote.
Abruzzo sponsored legislation that would allow "a not-for-profit insurance company, like Florida Blue, to become a so-called 'mutual insurance holding company,'" which "would allow the company to own other not-for-profit insurers and corporations in Florida, which is not allowed under current law," and the legislation passed unanimously through the Florida Senate without debate. He also authored legislation with State Representative Dave Kerner that would "sever the parental rights of a rapist if a child is conceived as a result of the attack," as, in some cases, rapists could sue for custody of children that were the products of the rapes that they committed. Additionally, Abruzzo worked with State Representative Joe Saunders to propose the Competitive Workforce Act, which would "update the state's Civil Rights Act of 1992 to include protections against discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation and gender identity," which a University of Florida poll suggested that 73 percent of Floridians supported. He joined forces with State Representative Irving Slosberg to author legislation that would create a "yellow dot program," whereby drivers of cars would put a photograph of themselves and "identifying information, along with any relevant medical records" into the glovebox of their car, and would affix a "circular, yellow decal" on their cars so that, in the case of a car accident, first responders would know to look in the glovebox for the information, which could prove helpful in treating the driver, if injured. However, Abruzzo opposed controversial legislation referred to as the "parent trigger bill," whereby parents could "demand sweeping changes at struggling public schools, including having the school converted into a charter school," and the legislation ultimately failed.
- "Revised state Senate Dist. 25 mostly covers areas west of turnpike, other parts of Palm Beach County: Race pits state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo against horse broker Melanie Peterson". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. October 25, 2012.
- "Abruzzo over Petersen in Florida Senate District 25". Palm Beach Post. October 22, 2012.
- "State House District 90 and State Senate District 25: Choose Abruzzo, Berman". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. October 15, 2012.
- "Florida Blue seeks changes in health law: Company wants to be able to expand". St. Augustine Record. April 14, 2013.
- "Senate unanimously passes changes crafted for Florida Blue". Florida Times-Union. April 16, 2013.
- "Bill to sever parental rights of rapists ready for governor". Tampa Bay Times. April 30, 2013.
- "Floridians support ban on sexual orientation discrimination, UF poll finds". University of Florida News. April 18, 2013.
- "Yellow Dots Could Save Floridians' Lives Just After Car Wrecks". WFSU. April 19, 2013.
- "Parent trigger headed to Senate floor". Tampa Bay Times. April 11, 2013.