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Kathy Castor

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Kathy Castor
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)
Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
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 57)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseWilliam Lewis
RelativesBetty Castor (mother)
Karen Castor Dentel (sister)
Frank Castor (brother)
EducationEmory University (BA)
Florida State University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Katherine Anne Castor (/ˈkæstər/ KASS-tər; 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 House in 2006 and has been reelected seven 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 U.S. 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 in 1984.[3] 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.

Early political career[edit]

Castor served on the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners from 2002 to 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]



Castor entered the race for what was then the 11th district when five-term incumbent Jim Davis chose to run for governor (he lost to Charlie Crist in November).

Castor won the September 5 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,[4] 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 won the November general election, 70% to 30%, becoming the first woman to represent the Tampa Bay area in Congress and 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, 71% to 29%, in a rematch with Adams.


Castor defeated Republican nominee Mike Prendergast, a career military officer who retired in 2008 as a colonel in the United States Army, with 60% of the vote to Prendergast's 40%. It was 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 the 14th. It was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor was reelected with 70.2% of the vote over Republican E. J. Otero.


No candidates filed to oppose Castor in the 2014 election.


Prendergast considered a rematch against Castor in 2016, but instead opted to run for sheriff of Citrus County.[5] Christine Quinn, the founder of My Family Seasonings, challenged Castor instead, running on a pro-business and anti-immigration platform.[6] A court-ordered redistricting cut out the district's share of St. Petersburg while pushing it further into Tampa, but it was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor defeated Quinn with 61.79% of the vote to Quinn's 38.21%.


As of 2022, Castor had voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.[7]

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," saying: "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."[8] Instead, she championed programs such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program[9] and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and said it was "the lifeline that really saved the economy."[10] In Tampa Bay, Recovery Act funds were invested in transportation, education, housing, research, law enforcement and various local infrastructure improvements.[11] The I-4/Crosstown Connector received the largest Recovery Act investment in Tampa Bay, with $105 million to make completion of the project possible. It opened to the public in 2014.

Iraq War[edit]

Since her first congressional campaign in 2006, Castor supported withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.[12] Her first committee assignment was the House Armed Services. In 2007, Castor voted to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq.[13]

In June 2021 of the 117th Congress, Castor joined 267 of her colleagues in voting to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. She said, "By repealing the 2002 AUMF, Congress will take a step towards reclaiming its proper constitutional authority over the use of military force. Today’s vote is a first step in ensuring that the AUMF will not be used by any president to justify new and unrelated offensive military actions. By finally repealing this two-decade old AUMF, this legislative body can once more execute its solemn constitutional responsibility, focus on supporting our service men and women and end the blank check for war."


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."[14] 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% of a public college education and 30% 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.[15] 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.[16]

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] Castor has served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee since 111th Congress.[17] 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.[18] She was critical of Governor 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 one million Floridians.[19] With the assistance of the National Association of Children's Hospitals, she and Representative Dave Reichert 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.[20] She applauded President Obama's 2014 announcement on immigration accountability executive action.[21]

Climate change[edit]

Castor chairs the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. As chair, she has been credited as a driving force behind the movement and helped allocate federal funding for the issue.

LGBT rights[edit]

Castor supports same-sex marriage. In 2005, she was the lone Hillsborough County 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 ban.[22]

In 2013, Castor filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and applauded the Court when it did so later that year.[23]

In both 2019 and 2021, 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."[24]

U.S.–Cuba relations[edit]

Castor supports normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. She visited Cuba in April 2013.[25]

Gun policy[edit]

Castor is an outspoken advocate for gun control. After the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, she participated in John Lewis's Congressional sit-in to demand that those on the No Fly List lose the right to purchase firearms.[26] 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."[26] She supports a ban of high-capacity magazines and reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.[26] While acknowledging that preventing those on the No-Fly List from buying guns or banning assault rifles might not have prevented the Pulse nightclub shooting, she said, "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."[27]

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.[28]

Impeachment of Donald Trump[edit]

On December 18, 2019, Castor voted to impeach President Donald Trump.[29]

Israel's right to self defense[edit]

Castor voted to provide Israel with support following 2023 Hamas attack on Israel.[30][31]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[32]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Special Operations Caucus (co-chair)
  • Academic Medicine Caucus (co-chair)
  • Children's Health Care Caucus (co-chair)
  • Air Force Caucus (co-chair)
  • Congressional Soccer Caucus (co-chair)

Personal life[edit]

Castor is a Presbyterian.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kathy Castor". RootsWeb. Ancestry.com. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  2. ^ Salinero, Mike (April 9, 2013). "Don Castor, former Hillsborough judge, dies at 81". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "CHS History | Chamberlain High School Legacy Project | United States". Chamberlain Legacy. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  4. ^ "Homepage". Eddie Adams, Jr. for U.S. Congress. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  5. ^ "Kathy Castor's Re-election Path Clearer After Prendergast Withdraws". Sunshine State News | Florida Political News. March 30, 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Meet Christine Quinn, the woman who wants to take Kathy Castor's job in Congress – Florida Politics". floridapolitics.com. July 14, 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  7. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  8. ^ "Castor says she was only (Florida) Democrat to vote against the Wall Street bailout". PolitiFact Florida. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Hinman, Michael (November 24, 2008). "Neighborhood Stabilization Program needs beefing up, critics say". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Perry, Mitch (March 7, 2014). "In Tiger Bay speech, Kathy Castor says she understands the rise of the Tea Party". Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "What does the Recovery Act Mean for Tampa Bay". Representative Kathy Castor. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Van Sickler, Michael (November 8, 2006). "Castor tops GOP opponent". The Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  13. ^ "Kathy Castor on War & Peace". On The Issues. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Congresswoman Kathy Castor at Suncoast Tiger Bay Club St. Petersburg 3-7-14". AudioBoo Ltd. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 6, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "In Pinellas, Head Start starts again". TBO.com. August 24, 2014. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "Kathy Castor (D-Fla.)". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  18. ^ McNeill, Claire (August 8, 2013). "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor preaches benefits of new health care law". The Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  19. ^ 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. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  20. ^ "Pushing immigration reform, Kathy Castor invites Jose Godinez-Samperio to the State of the Union address". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  21. ^ "U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's statement on President's Immigration Accountability Executive Actions". Representative Kathy Castor. November 20, 2014. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  22. ^ "Hillsborough County Commission unanimously repeals ban of gay pride recognition". June 5, 2013. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  23. ^ "Statement by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on DOMA ruling". Representative Kathy Castor. June 26, 2013. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  24. ^ Cicilline, David N. (May 20, 2019). "Text - H.R.5 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Equality Act". www.congress.gov. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  25. ^ "With Cuba off terror list, Rep. Castor calls for Tampa embassy". Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  26. ^ 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. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  27. ^ 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. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  28. ^ "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. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  29. ^ "Trump impeachment vote results: Who voted for and against in the House - Business Insider". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  30. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (October 25, 2023). "House Declares Solidarity With Israel in First Legislation Under New Speaker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  31. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (October 25, 2023). "Roll Call 528 Roll Call 528, Bill Number: H. Res. 771, 118th Congress, 1st Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved October 30, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ "Kathy Castor". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  33. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 118th Congress" (PDF). Pew Research Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 16, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2023.

External links[edit]

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

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

New office Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee
Position abolished
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by