|Chair of the Florida Democratic Party|
|Preceded by||Scott Maddox|
|Succeeded by||Rod Smith|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 5th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||New Constituency (Redistricting)|
|Succeeded by||Ginny Brown-Waite|
|Member of the Florida Senate|
from the 4th district
January 1983 – January 1993
|Preceded by||Pat Thomas|
|Succeeded by||Charles Williams|
|Born||January 12, 1951|
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Florida|
Karen L. Thurman (born January 12, 1951) is a former U.S. Representative from Florida, serving five consecutive terms from 1993 to 2003. She is a Democrat and served as chair of the Florida Democratic Party from 2005 to 2010.
Early life and education
She was born on January 12, 1951, in Rapid City, South Dakota, but has spent most of her life in Florida. She received her associate degree from Santa Fe College in Gainesville in 1970 and later her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida in 1973. She is married to John Thurman. They have two children, McLin (Macky) and Liberty Lee, and make their home in Dunnellon, Florida.
Early political career
Thurman was first elected to public office in 1974, when she won a seat on the city council of Dunnellon, Florida, on which she served until 1983. She served as Mayor of Dunnellon from 1979 to 1981. She served in the Florida State Senate from 1983 to 1993.
Tenure in Congress
Florida gained three congressional districts after the 1990 census. One of them was the 5th District, which stretched from Gainesville to the far northern portion of the Tampa Bay Area. It was an open secret that this district was drawn for Thurman. She was elected to the House from that district in 1992 and was reelected four more times with no serious opposition.
Thurman was recognized as an expert on health, veterans, and tax issues. She was only the sixth woman to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. On Ways and Means she fought for lower prescription drugs, increased access to health insurance, and tax relief. Prior to her appointment to Ways and Means in 1996, Congresswoman Thurman served on both the House Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.
After the 2000 census, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature reconfigured the 5th to make it friendlier to Republicans. She lost heavily Democratic Gainesville and surrounding Alachua County while picking up some heavily Republican territory between Tampa and Orlando. The new 5th contained much of the territory located in the State Senate district of that body's President Pro Tem, Ginny Brown-Waite. Nonetheless, Thurman ran for reelection. Even though the redrawn district had gone narrowly for George W. Bush in 2000 (Al Gore had won her old district handily), Thurman just barely lost to Brown-Waite. Since Thurman left office, the Democrats have cleared the 40 percent barrier in the district, now numbered as the 11th, only once.
In 2005 Thurman was elected Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party (FDP), succeeding Chairman Scott Maddox, who resigned in order to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Thurman resigned on November 12, 2010, following the midterm elections.
Thurman is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.
Her husband John Thurman was a Judge. She has two children; Macky and Liberty Thurman. She also has three grandchildren.
- ^ "Our Campaigns - FL State Senate 04 Race - Nov 02, 1982".
- ^ "Our Campaigns - FL State Senate 4 Race - Nov 06, 1990".
- ^ Congressional background
- ^ a b Resigned as chair of FDP Archived 2012-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Solochek, Jeffrey S. (2002-11-07). "How Brown-Waite ousted Thurman". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
- ^ Elected chair of FDP
- ^ "ReFormers Caucus". Issue One. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
- University of Florida College of Education alumni
- Living people
- 1951 births
- Democratic Party Florida state senators
- Politicians from Rapid City, South Dakota
- Female members of the United States House of Representatives
- Mayors of places in Florida
- Florida city council members
- Women city councillors in Florida
- Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives from Florida
- Women state legislators in Florida
- Women mayors of places in Florida
- State political party chairs of Florida
- 2008 United States presidential electors
- 21st-century American politicians
- 21st-century American women politicians
- People from Dunnellon, Florida
- Members of Congress who became lobbyists