Kathy Castor

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Kathy Castor
Kathy Castor.jpg
Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byPosition established
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Preceded byJim Davis
Constituency11th district (2007–2013)
14th district (2013–present)
Member of the
Hillsborough County Commission
from the 1st district
In office
January 2003 – January 2007
Preceded byStacey Easterling
Succeeded byRose Ferlita
Personal details
Katherine Anne Castor

(1966-08-20) August 20, 1966 (age 53)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)William Lewis
RelativesBetty Castor (mother)
Karen Castor Dentel (sister)
EducationEmory University (B.A.)
Florida State University (J.D.)
WebsiteHouse website

Katherine Anne Castor (born August 20, 1966) is an American politician and lawyer currently representing Florida's 14th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, serving since 2007. The district, numbered as the 11th district from 2007 to 2013, is based in Tampa. A Democrat, Castor was a member of the Hillsborough County Commission.

The daughter of former Florida State Senator, president of the University of South Florida, and Florida Education Commissioner Betty Castor, Kathy Castor was born in Miami and raised in Tampa, She graduated from Emory College and the Florida State University College of Law. After law school, Castor primarily worked in public administration law. She was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006 and has been reelected six times.

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. Castor,[1] was a Hillsborough County judge and died in April 2013.[2] 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]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

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

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."[5] Instead, she championed programs such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program[6] and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and said it was "the lifeline that really saved the economy."[7] In Tampa Bay, Recovery Act funds were invested in transportation, education, housing, research, law enforcement and various local infrastructure improvements.[8] 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.

Iraq War[edit]

Since her first congressional campaign in 2006, Castor has supported a withdrawal of U.S. troops out of Iraq and redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.[9] Her first committee assignment was the House Armed Services. In 2007, Castor voted to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq.[10]


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.

Castor was outspoken on the cuts that the 2013 Republican sequester would create for Head Start programs as well as research programs at Moffitt Cancer Care and University of South Florida.[12] In 2014, she supported a bipartisan budget agreement that included restoring Head Start funding with an increase of $1 billion over the sequester level and $612 million over the 2013 enacted level.[13]

Health care[edit]

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.[citation needed] In 2008, Castor successfully championed legislation to allow low-income families with overdue medical bills to still be eligible for student loans.[citation needed] Kathy Castor has served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee since 111th Congress.[14] During her membership in the Health Subcommittee, the subcommittee worked toward progressive reform for Florida families, businesses, and university medical and nursing colleges[citation needed]. Since the Affordable Care Act passed, Castor has worked to educate Floridians about new patient protections and rights, and about enrollment in the marketplace exchange.[15] 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 health care access to more than 1 million Floridians.[16] 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 improving quality of health care and health care access for children[citation needed].

Comprehensive immigration reform[edit]

Castor supports comprehensive immigration reform.[17] Castor applauded President Obama announcement in November 2014 on immigration accountability executive action.[18]

LGBT rights[edit]

Castor supports same sex marriage. In 2005, while serving on the Hillsborough County Commission, she was the lone commissioner to vote against a resolution to ban gay pride activities and events. In 2013, the Hillsborough County Commission unanimously reversed its position on the gay pride ban.[19]

In 2013, she filed a historic Amicus Brief in support of the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and applauded the Supreme Court when it made its ruling to do so later that year.[20]

In 2019, Castor co-sponsored and voted for the Equality Act which would amend the Civil Rights Act to "prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition of an individual, as well as because of sex-based stereotypes."[21]

U.S.–Cuba relations[edit]

Castor supports normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. She visited the island in April 2013.[22]

Gun policy[edit]

Castor is an outspoken advocate for gun control. Following the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, Castor participated in John Lewis's Congressional sit-in to demand that those on the No Fly List lose the right to purchase firearms.[23] Castor has spoken about her perception of Florida's lacking gun legislation, saying, "My home state of Florida has some of the weakest gun laws; we lack expanded background checks that would prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list, criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from purchasing guns."[23] She supports a ban of high-capacity magazines, as well as reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.[23] While she acknowledged that preventing those on the No-Fly List from buying guns or banning assault rifles might not have prevented the Pulse nightclub shooting, she stated, "if we could stop another tragedy. . .I think it's reasonable to say, here are a couple of common sense laws we could pass to make Americans more safe."[24]

In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Castor reiterated her support for repealing the Dickey Amendment of 1996, which discourages funding to the CDC to research gun violence prevention.[25]

Impeachment of President Donald Trump[edit]

On December 18 2019, Castor voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump. [26]

Political campaigns[edit]


Castor entered the race for what was then the 11th District 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 State Senator Les Miller, Al Fox, Scott Farrell, and Michael Steinberg. She received 54% of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of Miller in the five-way race.

Eddie Adams Jr., an architect and former hospital laboratory technologist,[27] 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 the Tampa Bay area in Congress, as well as only the third person to represent this Tampa-based district since its creation in 1963 (it was the 10th District from 1963 to 1967, the 6th from 1967 to 1973, the 7th from 1973 to 1993, the 11th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 14th since 2013).


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


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 renumbered as 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.


No candidates filed to oppose Castor in the 2014 election.


Mike Prendergast considered a rematch against Castor in 2016, but instead opted to run for sheriff of Citrus County.[28] Christine Quinn, the founder of My Family Seasonings, challenged Castor in the 2016 election, running on a pro-business and anti-immigration platform.[29] A court-ordered redistricting cut out the district's share of St. Petersburg while pushing it further into Tampa. However, it was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor held her seat against Quinn, with 61.79% of the vote to Quinn's 38.21%.

See also[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. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Castor says she was only (Florida) Democrat to vote against the Wall Street bailout". PolitiFact Florida. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  6. ^ Hinman, Michael (November 24, 2008). "Neighborhood Stabilization Program needs beefing up, critics say". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "What does the Recovery Act Mean for Tampa Bay". Representative Kathy Castor. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Van Sickler, Michael (November 8, 2006). "Castor tops GOP opponent". The Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "Kathy Castor on War & Peace". On The Issues. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "Congresswoman Kathy Castor at Suncoast Tiger Bay Club St. Petersburg 3-7-14". AudioBoo Ltd. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  12. ^ http://castor.house.gov/UploadedFiles/sequestration13.pdf
  13. ^ "In Pinellas, Head Start starts again". TBO.com. August 24, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Kathy Castor (D-Fla.)". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Pushing immigration reform, Kathy Castor invites Jose Godinez-Samperio to the State of the Union address". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's statement on President's Immigration Accountability Executive Actions". Representative Kathy Castor. November 20, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "Hillsborough County Commission unanimously repeals ban of gay pride recognition". June 5, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  20. ^ "Statement by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on DOMA ruling". Representative Kathy Castor. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  21. ^ Cicilline, David N. (May 20, 2019). "Text - H.R.5 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Equality Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "With Cuba off terror list, Rep. Castor calls for Tampa embassy". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c "U.S. Rep. Castor joins today's sit-in protest to demand a vote on gun safety". U. S. Representative Kathy Castor. U. S. Federal Government. June 22, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  24. ^ Marrero, Tony (June 13, 2016). "After Orlando massacre, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor calls for renewal of assault weapons ban". Tampa Bay Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "U.S. Rep. Castor's Statement on Gun Violence Prevention at the CDC". U. S. Representative Kathy Castor. U. S. Federal Government. February 16, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  26. ^ https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-impeachment-vote-results-house-2019-12
  27. ^ "Homepage". Eddie Adams, Jr. for U.S. Congress. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  28. ^ "Kathy Castor's Re-election Path Clearer After Prendergast Withdraws". Sunshine State News | Florida Political News. March 30, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  29. ^ "Meet Christine Quinn, the woman who wants to take Kathy Castor's job in Congress – Florida Politics". floridapolitics.com. Retrieved September 14, 2017.

External links[edit]

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

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

New office Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Vern Buchanan
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Yvette Clarke