|Member of the Florida House of Representatives|
from the 39th district
November 6, 2012 – November 24, 2017
|Succeeded by||Josie Tomkow|
|Born||June 12, 1959|
|Alma mater||Polk State College (A.A.)|
Florida State University (B.A.)
|Profession||Agribusiness, real estate|
Neil Combee (born June 12, 1959) is a Republican politician from Florida. He has served as the Florida state director of the USDA Farm Service Agency since November 2017. Previously, he represented parts of northern Polk County and northwestern Osceola County in the Florida House of Representatives from 2012 to 2017.
Early life and career
He was elected to the Polk County Commission as a Democrat in 1988, a position to which he was re-elected in 1992, 1996, and 2000. In 2004, Combee did not seek another term on the Commission, and following the conclusion of his term in 2005, he was appointed to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, where he served until 2012, when he resigned to run for the legislature.
Combee was going to run for the legislature in 2010 when incumbent State Representative Kelli Stargel was planning on seeking the Florida Senate seat held by Paula Dockery, who planned on running for Governor. When Dockery dropped her gubernatorial campaign, however, Stargel instead ran for re-election, putting her on a collision course with Combee. Ultimately, Combee did not qualify for the ballot because his campaign "wrote a qualifying check for $1,781.81, but the correct amount required was $1,781.82."
Florida House of Representatives
When Dockery was term-limited in 2012, Stargel ran to succeed her, creating an open seat in the 39th District, and Combee once again declared his candidacy. He was unopposed in the primary election and faced Carol Castagnero, an independent candidate who had run for a number of offices unsuccessfully, in the general election. Castagnero did not present a strong challenge to Combee, and he ended up defeating her in a landslide, receiving 65% of the vote, to win his first term in the legislature.
Combee sponsored legislation in 2013 that would have "[prevented] someone who fires a warning shot or brandishes a weapon from being prosecuted under the state's stiff gun laws," which he had previously proposed a year prior, but had not received a vote.
He attracted controversy in 2013 when he suggested on Twitter that Barack Obama was responsible for the chemical attacks that took place in the Syrian Civil War, asking, "Who knows? Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?" He defended his remarks, saying, "I think it's my place, your place and everybody's place to question what is going on here. Who do we believe?"
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Combee is married to Linda Weatherford. They have two children and reside in Polk City, Florida.
- "Representative Neil Combee". Florida House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- Rufty, Bill (January 17, 2010). "Ex-Commissioner Combee Enters State House". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Bousquet, Steve (May 24, 2010). "Paula Dockery drops out of Florida governor's race". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Rufty, Bill (April 26, 2012). "Kelli Stargel Collects $146,500 in Campaign for State Senate Seat". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Rufty, Bill (June 21, 2010). "State House Hopeful Neil Combee Trying to Resolve Filing Problem". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Pera, Eric (6 July 2012). "Fla. House District 39: Castagnero Runs Without Party Affiliation". The Ledger. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Decision 2012 Tampa Bay Election Results". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Little, Ryan E. (September 27, 2013). "State Rep. Neil Combee Revives 'Warning Shot' Bill". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Little, Ryan E. (September 6, 2013). "State Rep. Neil Combee Tweet on Syria, Obama Gets Attention". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- Hollyfield, Amy (2017-11-09). "Rep. Neil Combee resigning to take federal farm service job". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
- Schorsch, Peter (2017-11-08). "Neil Combee praises Richard Corcoran, others in resignation letter". Florida Politics. Retrieved 2017-11-24.