Bill Nelson is a “Moderate” Democrat in a very purple state. He understands when to propose a bill, firmly back an important bill, and when to compromise. He is open to working with the other side of the isle. Floridians of all stripes, like that. That’s why he always gets (re)elected. His experience includes 10 years of congressional service in Florida, 5 terms in the U.S House of Representatives, 3 terms (+) in the United States Senate. In 40 years of public service his only loss was in a State Democratic Primary.
Bill Nelson was born in Miami, Florida. He is of Scottish, Irish, English, and Danish descent. He grew up in Melbourne, Florida. As a fifth-generation Floridian, Bill’s roots run deep in Florida. Nelson attended the University of Florida, and later transferred to Yale University. He received a law degree from the University of Virginia.
In 1965, during the Vietnam War, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve. He served on active duty from 1968 to 1970, attaining the rank of captain.
In 1972, Nelson was elected to the Florida House of Representatives from the 47th District, representing much of Brevard County and portions of Orange and Seminole Counties. He won reelection in 1974 and 1976. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, which encompassed all of Brevard and part of Orange County. He was re-elected in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1988. He remained a member of the U.S. House until 1991.
In 1986, Nelson became the second sitting member of Congress to travel into space. He went through NASA training. He was a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia‘ mission from January 12 to 18, 1986. It was the last successful Space Shuttle flight before the Challenger accident.
In the Florida Legislature, in the 1970’s, Bill Nelson was a leader in education, growth management and the merit selection of judges. He sponsored a law to take on racketeering, one of the nation’s first state statutes against computer crimes. In the U.S. House of Representatives, where Bill served from 1979 to 1991, he was a strong proponent of balancing the federal budget. He believes that just as America’s families must balance their budgets, so too should the U.S. government.
Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, he has earned a reputation as a consensus builder and problem solver, while consistently being a moderate voice in an increasingly partisan environment. Over the years, he has been endorsed by all the major newspapers in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times once said, “Bill Nelson fits the mold of responsible moderation” and “has proved himself in the battle with special interests.” And the Orlando Sentinel said: “Mr. Nelson has a sense of independence. Although he often agrees with Democrats, ultimately, his conscience dictates his course.”
Since coming to the U.S. Senate in 2001, Bill Nelson has fought hard for Florida interests. Whether it’s helping to keep Florida bases strong or securing aid for hurricane victims, Bill Nelson has been a leader when it comes to protecting and fighting for the Sunshine State. From his key position on the Armed Services Committee, Nelson has been instrumental in ensuring that Florida retains its key role as a leading center for military operations. He has also fought at every chance to improve the lot of the state’s many veterans.
Nelson also has been a champion for protecting Florida’s environment and economy. He has been a staunch foe of the big oil companies that want to drill off the coast, which would encroach on military training and threaten Florida’s tourism-driven economy. Always on Nelson’s mind are the state’s many seniors. He’s been an unwavering defender of Social Security, and he has resisted the wrong-headed attempts by some politicians to put the retirement of millions of Americans into risky investments.
And he has used his leadership position on the Commerce Committee to shine the spotlight on misbehaving companies such as when he pressured automakers to recall cars with defective airbags.
The consistent theme of Nelson’s more than four decades of public service has been his willingness to stand up and fight against powerful special interests on behalf of our country and of all Floridians. Bill passed a law that continues to protect Florida’s beaches and environment, our tourism-driven economy and our military testing and training range in the Eastern Gulf by keeping oil rigs off Florida’s coasts.
Now he is helping Florida’s communities manage rising sea levels caused by climate change.
And Bill is working to create jobs for the future especially in the aerospace, high tech and renewable energy industries.
- National Rifle Association, F —————————————————Rick Scott, A+
- Planned Parenthood, 100% —————————————————Rick Scott, 0%
- NARAL Pro-Choice, 100% —————————————————–Rick Scott, 0%
- National Organization of Women, 100% ————————————Rick Scott, 0%
- League of Women Voters, 95%
- Common Cause (watchdog group), 100%
- Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 100%
- NAACP, 100%
- Americans for Democratic Actions, 100%
- Alliance for Retired Americans (lifetime score), 94%
- Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (lifetime score), 94%
- National Committee to Preserve SS and Medicare, 100%
- Environmental America, 100%
- Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, 100%
- Clean Water Action, 100%
- League of Conservation Voters, 100%
- American Public Health Association, 100%
- National Education Association, 100%
- AFL-CIO (lifetime score), 88%
- Americans for Democratic Action, 90%
- Information Technology Industry Council, 100%.