|Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee|
January 3, 2019
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 2007
|Constituency||11th district (2007-2013)|
14th district (2013-present)
|Member of the |
Hillsborough County Commission
from the 1st district
January 2003 - January 2007
Katherine Anne Castor
August 20, 1966
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Relatives||Betty Castor (mother)|
Karen Castor Dentel (sister)
|Education||Emory University (BA)|
Florida State University (JD)
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 United States Senate candidate. Her father, Donald F. Castor, was a Hillsborough County judge and died in April 2013. Castor was raised in Tampa and graduated from Chamberlain High School. 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.
Castor began her legal career as assistant general counsel to the Florida Department of Community Affairs. She is the former president of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and partner in a statewide law firm. In 2005, Castor was named as the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Woman of the Year in government.
Castor served on the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners from 2002 through 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.
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," stating that: "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." Instead, she championed programs such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and said it was "the lifeline that really saved the economy." In Tampa Bay, Recovery Act funds were invested in transportation, education, housing, research, law enforcement and various local infrastructure improvements. The I-4/Crosstown Connector received the largest Recovery Act investment in Tampa Bay, with $105 million to make the completion of the project possible and it opened to the public in 2014.
Since her first congressional campaign in 2006, Castor has supported a withdrawal of U.S. troops out of Iraq and redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Her first committee assignment was the House Armed Services. In 2007, Castor voted to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq.
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." 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 percent of a public college education and 30 percent 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. 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.
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. In 2008, Castor successfully championed legislation to allow low-income families with overdue medical bills to still be eligible for student loans. Kathy Castor has served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee since 111th Congress. During her membership in the Health Subcommittee, the subcommittee worked toward progressive reform for Florida families, businesses, and university medical and nursing colleges. 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. She has been critical of Gov. 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 1 million Floridians. With the assistance of the National Association of Children's Hospitals, she and Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington founded the bipartisan Children's Health Care Caucus, dedicated to improving quality of health care and health care access for children.
Castor supports same sex marriage. In 2005, while serving on the Hillsborough County Commission, she was the lone 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 gay pride ban.
In 2013, she filed a historic Amicus Brief in support of the Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and applauded the Supreme Court when it made its ruling to do so later that year.
In 2019, 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."
Castor supports normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba. She visited the island in April 2013.
Castor is an outspoken advocate for gun control. Following the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, Castor participated in John Lewis's Congressional sit-in to demand that those on the No Fly List lose the right to purchase firearms. 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." She supports a ban of high-capacity magazines, as well as reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. While she acknowledged that preventing those on the No-Fly List from buying guns or banning assault rifles might not have prevented the Pulse nightclub shooting, she stated, "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."
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.
Castor won the September 5, 2006 Democratic primary--the real contest in what has long been the only safe Democratic district on Florida's Gulf Coast--defeating challengers Al Fox, Lesley "Les" Miller, Scott Farrell, and Michael Steinberg. She received 54% of the vote, a full 20 points ahead of state Senate Minority Leader Les Miller in the five-way race.
Eddie Adams Jr., an architect and former hospital laboratory technologist, 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 handily won the 2006 November general election, 70% to 30%--becoming the first woman to represent the Tampa Bay area in Congress, as well as only the third representative of 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 in November 2008 71% to 29% in a rematch with Adams.
Castor was challenged by Republican nominee Mike Prendergast, a career military officer who retired in 2008 as a colonel in the United States Army. Castor was reelected in November 2010 with 60% of the vote to Prendergast's 40%. Though Castor won convincingly, it was still 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 as the 14th. It was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor won reelection with 70.2 percent of the vote over Republican E. J. Otero.
No candidates filed to oppose Castor in the 2014 election.
Mike Prendergast considered a rematch against Castor in 2016, but instead opted to run for sheriff of Citrus County. Christine Quinn, the founder of My Family Seasonings, challenged Castor in the 2016 election, running on a pro-business and anti-immigration platform. A court-ordered redistricting cut out the district's share of St. Petersburg, replacing it with most of the portion of Tampa. However, it was no less Democratic than its predecessor, and Castor held her seat against Quinn, with 61.79% of the vote to Quinn's 38.21%.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 11th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 14th congressional district
|New office|| Chair of the House Climate Crisis Committee|
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority