Tony Hill (politician)
|Member of the Florida Senate|
from the 1st district
|Succeeded by||Audrey Gibson|
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives|
from the 14th district
|Succeeded by||Terry Fields|
September 9, 1957|
|Alma mater||National Labor College|
Anthony C. "Tony" Hill (born September 9, 1957) is an American politician in the Democratic Party, who served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000, and in the Florida Senate from 2002 to 2011. In 2011, Hill announced he was resigning from the Florida Senate to serve as Federal Policy Director in Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown's administration.
While he was in the Florida Senate, he served on the following committees: Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations (Vice Chair); Community Affairs; Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Policy and Steering Committee on Governmental Operations; Military Affairs and Domestic Security; Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means; Regulated Industries; Select Committee on Florida’s Economy and was Chair of the Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations. He was the Senate Democratic Floor Leader and was appointed by the Senate President to serve on the Home Ownership Promotes The Economy (HOPE) Task Force.
State House of Representatives
Prior to being elected to the Florida Senate, Hill was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, District 14, in 1992 and subsequently re-elected, unopposed, for three consecutive terms. After leaving the Florida House in 2000, due to term limits, he continued his leadership activities: co-chaired the Florida Coalition to Reduce Class Size, resulting in Florida Constitutional Amendment 9, requiring smaller class sizes. After being elected to the Senate he led the fight to make sure Amendment 9 was implemented.
During the 2004 election Hill served as Florida’s Statewide Co-Chair for the Minimum Wage Initiative, which helped successfully raise Florida’s minimum wage.
Hill led a successful effort in the Florida Senate to pass a resolution formally apologizing for the Legislature's support of slavery and expressing Florida's profound regret for the shameful chapter in the state's history. Florida followed Maryland, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey in offering an apology for slavery.
Hill and Representative Ed Holman spearheaded a legislative initiative regarding Florida's state song, "Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)", written by Stephen Foster. The song, whose original lyrics refer to the "de old plantation" and to "darkeys", is offensive to many Floridians. As a result of their efforts, “Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky),” by Florida music teacher Jan Hinton was selected as state anthem, and the lyrics to "Old Folks at Home" have been revised to eliminate the racially insensitive passages.
While serving as Chair of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, Hill and other members encouraged Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist to issue an Executive Order establishing a Task Force to develop the requirements needed for the State of Florida to begin the process of restoring Civil Rights and streamlining the restoring of Voting Rights to felons who have completed their sentences and all other court ordered requirements. In 2007, the Governor issued an Executive Order that provided for the restoration of the civil rights for certain ex-offenders. Under the rule, the civil rights of ex-offenders who have committed less severe non-violent crimes, and meeting certain requirements, qualify for approval without a hearing.
In 2007, Hill was appointed to a three-year term as an at-Large member to the Executive Board of the National Black Caucus of States Institute (NBCSI). Also, in October 2007, in conjunction with Enterprise Florida, Hill led a trade delegation to South Africa and Namibia, visiting Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bela Bela, Cape Town, East London and Windhoek as a continuation of Florida’s efforts to expand business and cultural partnerships in Southern Africa.
During the 2008 presidential election, Hill was served as Florida’s Co-Chair of the Florida Change Committee (and as a member of the Florida Advisory Council) for Senator Barack Obama’s successful bid for the Presidency. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel included Hill among the five individuals, the “Fave Five,” whom, according to the Sun-Sentinel, then-candidate Barack Obama needed to know in Florida if he wanted to carry the state in the general election. Hill led a state-wide bus tour, ”It’s About Us OBAMA/BIDEN”. He was one of two Democratic state senators selected as electors to cast votes for Obama in 2008. Also in 2008, Hill was elected to a four-year term as a member to the Democratic National Committee and appointed to a four-year term as a member of the Florida Democratic Executive Committee.
In the August 2009 Special Issue of Florida Trend Magazine, Senator Hill was featured as one of the “Must-Know Jacksonville Leaders”, with the quotation “ State Sen. Tony Hill was an early supporter of Barack Obama. He still has Obama’s ear.” In September 2009 the national political magazine Campaign and Elections Magazine included Hill as one of the fifty Democrats in “People of Influence.”
In October 2009, Hill led another delegation to Dakar, Senegal, and the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. In April 2010, Hill and a delegation of heads of state and key representatives of the African Diaspora traveled to Senegal to celebrate 50 years of independence with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
In 2011, Hill announced he was resigning from the Florida Senate to serve as Federal Policy Director in Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown's administration. A special election was called, which was won by Audrey Gibson, who succeeded Hill as State Senator from the 1st district.
Family and personal life
Hill began his labor career as a Longshoreman with ILA, Local 1408, Jacksonville. He is the former Secretary-Treasurer of the Florida AFL-CIO, having been first elected in 1995 and served through 2000. In April 2001, he was honored with the esteemed position of Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the Florida AFL-CIO. In September 2001, because of his extraordinary commitment and service to the labor movement, he was inducted into the AFL-CIO’s Florida Labor Hall of Fame and presented with the A. Philip Randolph Award. Hill is the youngest inductee, and the first African-American to receive this prestigious honor.
He is a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity (Theta Phi chapter) and other honors include: Chair of the NAACP Florida State Conference Labor Roundtable; Founder of the Achieve, Instill & Inspire Foundation, which provides scholarships for African American and Latino males to attend college in the field of education; The Humanitarian of the Millennium Award, by One Church One Child, April 2008; The Norman Hill Award, the highest honor from the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, usually reserved for international candidates, July 2009; Elected to a three-year term on the Neighbor To Family Board of Directors, January 2010; The Lester Granger Award from The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc., February 2010; and The Public Official Award Of The Year from the Children’s Home Society in Jacksonville, March 2010.
Hill is a graduate of Jean Ribault Senior High School, Jacksonville; attended Lincoln University, Lincoln, Pennsylvania; graduated from the National Labor College, Silver Spring, Maryland, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labor Studies. He has received an Honorary Doctorate from Edward Waters College, Jacksonville. He is the middle child of Cordelia and Ernest Hill, Sr., is married to Patricia, the father of four children, five grandchildren and has been a member of the Greater Macedonia Baptist Church for over twenty five years.
- Dixon, Matt (July 11, 2011). "Alvin Brown appoints Sen. Tony Hill to bring in federal funds". Florida Times-Union.
- Leary, Alex (June 30, 2011). "Sen. Tony Hill leaving office early to join new Jacksonville mayor's team". tampabay.com. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 29 December 2011.