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Gwen Graham
Assistant Secretary of Education for Legislation and Congressional Affairs
Assumed office
October 8, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
SecretaryMiguel Cardona
Preceded byPeter Oppenheim
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded bySteve Southerland
Succeeded byNeal Dunn (redistricting)
Personal details
Gwendolyn Graham

(1963-01-31) January 31, 1963 (age 61)
Miami Lakes, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
  • Mark Logan
    (m. 1985, divorced)
  • Stephen Hurm
Parent(s)Bob Graham
Adele Khoury

Gwendolyn Graham (born January 31, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. representative for Florida's 2nd congressional district from 2015 to 2017. She is the daughter of Bob Graham, the former United States senator and governor of Florida. A Democrat, she was a candidate in the 2018 Democratic primary for Florida governor. Graham is currently assistant secretary of education for legislation and congressional affairs in the Biden administration.

Early life and education

Graham was born in Miami Lakes, Florida,[1] to Bob the former Governor and US Senator and Adele (née Khoury) Graham.[2] She has lived in Tallahassee since 1978, when her father became Governor of Florida.[1] Graham graduated from Leon High School in 1980.[3] She has Lebanese (from her maternal grandfather) and Scots-Irish ancestry.

Graham received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984 and her Juris Doctor from American University's Washington College of Law in 1988.[4]

Early career

After law school, she worked as an associate at the Andrews & Kurth law firm in Washington, D.C.[5][6]

In 2003, Graham joined her father's 2004 presidential campaign. When he dropped out of the race following a heart attack, Graham joined Howard Dean's presidential campaign, before ultimately helping coordinate John Kerry's unsuccessful campaign efforts in Florida.[7][8]

Graham worked for Leon County Schools as an administrator, including as director of employee relations.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives



In 2013, Graham announced her candidacy against incumbent Republican Congressman Steve Southerland in 2014.[10] The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced they would target the race and provide support to Graham.[11] Graham was one of just two Democrats in the entire country to defeat an incumbent Republican that year, beating Southerland in the November election by more than 2,800 votes.[12]

Tenure and political positions

Prior to her swearing in, Graham said both parties need new leadership in Congress and that she would not vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House.[13] Graham voted for Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee instead.[14] Graham voted for Cooper again when the House voted on the new Speaker after John Boehner announced his resignation.[15]

Graham was ranked as the ninth most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School.[16] On a scale of zero to one hundred, Graham scores eight as a lifetime rating by the conservative lobbying organization, American Conservative Union.[17] She also scores a 0 on the 2016 Freedom Works ratings, which is associated with the Tea Party movement.[18]

Graham advocated for congressional reforms, including legislation to prohibit members of Congress from using federal funds to pay for first-class airfare[19] and a bill to prevent future government shutdowns.[20]

Graham introduced and passed legislation to help Israel develop an anti-tunneling defense system to detect, map, and destroy tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Israel.[21] Graham joined Florida Democrats Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, and Alcee Hastings in opposing the Iran nuclear deal.[22][23]

Graham voted repeatedly to defend the Affordable Care Act from repeal and supported fixes to the law.[24] She supports the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana in Florida.[25][26] Graham is pro-choice with a 100% ranking from Planned Parenthood and she supports same-sex marriage and LGBT equality, with a 100% ranking from the Human Rights Campaign.[27]

Graham supports comprehensive immigration reform. She voted to protect the DACA program for young immigrants.[28] She supports bipartisan legislation to grant permanent legal status to refugees of the Haiti earthquake.[29] She voted to place more stringent safeguards on refugee vetting.[30]

Graham supports gun control. In Congress, she joined Congressman John Lewis in the sit-in against gun violence. She co-sponsored legislation to strengthen background checks and prevent those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.[31][32]

On the environment, Graham co-sponsored bipartisan legislation with Congressman David Jolly and Senator Bill Nelson to oppose oil drilling off the beaches of Florida.[33] She rallied almost the entire Florida congressional delegation to support the Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act.[34] She has voted for the Keystone XL pipeline, based on studies that showed the pipeline would generate less greenhouse gases than transporting the oil by rail, truck, and barge.[35][36] Graham voted in favor of having the Environmental Protection Agency re-examine its Waters of the United States rule with more input from those it would affect.[23] Graham supported Florida counties in their campaigns against fracking in Florida.[37] She used public records to help expose and investigate Governor Rick Scott's response to a massive sinkhole in Central Florida.[38] Graham supports purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee to restore the Everglades River of Grass.[39]

Reaction to redistricting

In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the congressional redistricting plan was a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Fair Districts Amendment. The ensuing court-ordered redistricting shifted most of Tallahassee, which had anchored the 2nd district and its predecessors for almost half a century, to the 5th district. Most of Graham's black constituents were drawn into the 5th as well. To make up for the loss in population, the 2nd was pushed to the south to take in territory from the heavily Republican 3rd and 11th districts. Graham now found herself in what was, on paper, one of the most Republican districts in the nation.[40] Had it existed in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won it with 64 percent of the vote, which would have been his third-best total in the state.[41] By comparison, Romney carried the old 2nd in 2012 with 52 percent of the vote.[42]

Had Graham sought a second term in the redrawn 2nd, she would have been running in a district that was far more Republican than its predecessor, even though she would have retained 68 percent of her former territory. Her only other option for representing at least some of her current constituents would have been to run in the Democratic primary for the heavily Democratic, black-majority 5th District against that district's 24-year incumbent, Corrine Brown. Her home in Tallahassee was just outside the boundaries of the 5th district, but members of Congress only have to live in the state they wish to represent. Had Graham run in the 5th, however, she would have been running in a district that would have been more than 67 percent new to her.[40][42]

In a YouTube video emailed to her fundraising list, Graham announced that she would not run for reelection to the House in 2016, denouncing a process that resulted in Tallahassee being split into "two partisan districts". She said that she was considering running for Governor of Florida in the 2018 election.[43]

Committee assignments

2018 gubernatorial election

On May 2, 2017, Graham announced her intention to seek the Democratic Party nomination in the 2018 election to serve as governor of Florida.[44]

Graham's message focused on improving Florida's public schools, protecting the environment, and supporting economic policies counter to those of Governor Rick Scott, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and implementing required paid sick leave.[45] She pledged to expand Medicaid in Florida if elected Governor.[46] She criticized Trump after he equated counter-protesters with white nationalists at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[47]

In her campaigns for Congress and Florida's governorship, she is continuing the Workdays tradition established by her father, where the Grahams spend a shift working alongside Floridians at their jobs. Senator Graham performed 408 Workdays throughout his terms as senator and governor. To date, Congresswoman Graham has performed more than 50.[48]

Graham ultimately lost the nomination to candidate Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee.[49] Following her election defeat, she endorsed Gillum for governor.[50]

Biden administration

On April 16, 2021, it was announced that Graham would be nominated to serve as assistant secretary of the United States Department of Education for legislation and congressional affairs.[51] On April 22, 2021, her nomination was sent to the Senate.[52] Her nomination was confirmed in the U.S. Senate on October 6, 2021, by voice vote.[53]

Personal life

Graham lives in Tallahassee.[2] She married Mark Logan in 1985,[54] and they have three children together.[55] While raising her children, Graham worked for 13 years as a self-described "stay-at-home mom."[9] Graham and Logan divorced, and she is now married to Stephen Hurm.[3]

Electoral history

Florida's 2nd Congressional District election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gwen Graham 126,096 50.5%
Republican Steve Southerland (Incumbent) 123,262 49.3%
Write-in Luther Lee 422 0.2%
Total votes 249,780
Democratic gain from Republican
Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Gillum 517,417 34.3%
Democratic Gwen Graham 472,735 31.3%
Democratic Philip Levine 306,450 20.3%
Democratic Jeff Greene 151,935 10.1%
Democratic Chris King 37,464 2.5%
Democratic John Wetherbee 14,355 1.0%
Democratic Alex "Lundy" Lundmark 8,628 0.6%
Total votes 1,508,984

See also


  1. ^ a b "Daughter Of For met Fla. Sen. Bob Graham Running For Congress". NPR. April 2, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "With Graham name, Democrats see rare chance for Florida win". Reuters. August 25, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Sen. Bob Graham's daughter, Gwen, holds fundraiser". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  4. ^ "GRAHAM, Gwendolyn (Gwen) - Biographical Information". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Steve Southerland says Gwen Graham 'was a Washington lobbyist'". @politifact. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Ledyard King (September 14, 2014). "Florida District 2 race heats up between Steve Southerland, Gwen Graham". PolitiFact. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  7. ^ "Graham's Daughter Steps Into Politics". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  8. ^ "State: New Graham rising on political horizon". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Gibson, William E. "Gwen Graham rides into Congress with 'independent voice'". Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  10. ^ King, Ledyard (May 5, 2013). "Southerland faces tough 2014 re-election bid". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  11. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (May 9, 2013). "DCCC unveils plan to boost top prospects in 2014". Politico. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  12. ^ Karl Etters, Tallahassee Democrat (November 4, 2014). "Gwen Graham defeats Steve Southerland". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Sherman, Jake (October 15, 2014). "Gwen Graham: 'I am not Nancy Pelosi'". Politico. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 2". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. January 6, 2015.
  15. ^ King, Ledyard. "Rep. Gwen Graham votes against Pelosi – again". Tallahassee Democrat. October 29, 2015.
  16. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  17. ^ "The American Conservative Union Federal Legislative Ratings". Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Scorecards | Congressional Scorecard - FreedomWorks". Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "H.R.1339 - To prohibit the use of official funds for airline accommodations for Members of Congress which are not coach-class accommodations or for long-term vehicle leases for Members of Congress, and for other purposes". Library of Congress. March 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Gwen Graham calls for 'Shutdown Prevention Act' - Florida Politics". October 2, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  21. ^ "H.R. 1349: United States-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act". March 10, 2015.
  22. ^ "How Florida's Congress members voted on Iran nuclear deal". Politico PRO. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "H.R.1191 - Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015". May 22, 2015.
  24. ^ "Rep. Gwen Graham Talks Obamacare and Dep. of Homeland Security Archived November 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine". WJHG-TV. March 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Tallahassee Mayor Gillum supports legalizing recreational marijuana; other gubernatorial candidates weigh in". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "Steve Southerland vs. Gwen Graham Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For Florida District 2 Congressional Race 2014". Huffington Post. October 29, 2014.
  27. ^ Powers, Scott (May 2, 2017). "Gwen Graham's politics molded by father, Florida life". Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Conroy, Katherine (September 6, 2017). "Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Respond to End of DACA". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  29. ^ "Graham: Haitians with Temporary Status Deserve to Stay". Gwen Graham for Governor. November 29, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Leary, Alex. "Gwen Graham, Patrick Murphy only two Florida Dems to vote for Syrian refugee crackdown Archived November 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine". Tampa Bay Times. November 19, 2015.
  31. ^ Lemongello, Steven. "Graham calls for gun safety measures in advance of Pulse anniversary". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  32. ^ Gwen Graham Archive (June 22, 2016), GWEN GRAHAM SITTING IN TO STAND UP FOR ORLANDO, retrieved February 11, 2018
  33. ^ "Gwen Graham, David Jolly lead bipartisan fight to ban oil drilling off Gulf beaches - Florida Politics". June 4, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  34. ^ "Gwen Graham announces Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act during workday on the river - Florida Politics". May 26, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  35. ^ Leary, Alex (January 24, 2015). "Democrat Gwen Graham takes heat for right-leaning votes". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  36. ^ "Ralph Reed says alternatives to Keystone pipeline are worse for environment". @politifact. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  37. ^ "Fracking fears surface in North Florida". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  38. ^ "Congresswoman rips governor, DEP over sinkhole contamination secret". WFLA. September 30, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  39. ^ Sentinel, Orlando. "Gwen Graham: Politics shortchanges, endangers water, Florida's greatest treasure". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  40. ^ a b "Daily Kos Elections congressional district redistribution analysis (post-2010 census)". Google Docs. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  41. ^ "Florida election results by congressional district". Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  42. ^ a b "Daily Kos Elections 2008 & 2012 presidential election results for congressional districts used in 2012 & 2014 elections". Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  43. ^ "Gwen Graham might run for governor". Tallahassee Democrat. April 21, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  44. ^ "Former congresswoman Gwen Graham announces run for Florida governor". Miami Herald. May 2, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  45. ^ Sweeney, Dan. "In Palm Beach County, Democratic governor candidates seek to highlight differences". Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  46. ^ "Gwen Graham would seek Constitutional amendment if needed to expand Medicaid". Florida Politics. June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  47. ^ "Gwen Graham calls on Rick Scott to 'immediately denounce' Donald Trump's Charlottesville comments - Florida Politics". August 17, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  48. ^ "Gwen Graham starts governor campaign, holds workday like dad". palmbeachpost. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  49. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (August 28, 2018). "Andrew Gillum Upends Expectations in Florida Primary Victory". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  50. ^ "Gwen Graham concedes her candidacy for governor". August 29, 2018.
  51. ^ "President Biden Announces His Intent to Nominate Eight Key Administration Leaders". The White House. April 16, 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  52. ^ "Nominations Sent to the Senate", White House, April 22, 2021
  53. ^ "Gwen Graham's nomination as assistant secretary of education confirmed by U.S. Senate", Tallahassee Democrat, October 6, 2021
  54. ^ "Democrats recruiting Gwen Graham, daughter of former governor Bob Graham, to challenge Steve Southerland". SaintPetersBlog. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  55. ^ "Meet Gwen - Gwen Graham for Governor". Gwen Graham for Governor. Retrieved June 10, 2018.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Government offices
Title last held by
Peter Oppenheim
Assistant Secretary of Education for Legislation and Congressional Affairs
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative
This page was last edited on 3 May 2024, at 20:19
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