Florida New Members 2019

Florida New Members 2019

Rep.-elect Michael Waltz (R-Fla.-06)

DATE OF BIRTH: Jan. 31, 1974
RESIDENCE: St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
OCCUPATION: Businessman
EDUCATION: B.S., Virginia Military Institute
FAMILY: Wife, Brenda; one daughter


After a long career of military service, Michael Waltz will now be serving his country in Congress, replacing former Rep. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisOvernight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Florida to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, bars MORE (R), who ran for governor, in Florida’s 6th Congressional District. 

Waltz was born and raised in Florida. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and then joined the U.S. Army, serving for 21 years. While in the military, he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and was a special forces officer in the Green Berets.

Waltz served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan, including leading the mission to find Bowe Bergdahl. He was awarded four Bronze Stars.

After leaving the Army, he worked in the Pentagon in the George W. Bush administration as policy director for former Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates. He also was a counterterrorism adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

A business owner and an author, Waltz is also a former Fox News contributor. 


Rep.-elect Ross Spano (R-Fla.-15)


DATE OF BIRTH: July 16, 1966
RESIDENCE: Dover, Fla.
OCCUPATION: State lawmaker
EDUCATION: B.A., University of South Florida; J.D., Florida State University
FAMILY: Wife, Amie; four children

Ross Spano is keeping Florida’s 15th Congressional District red as he replaces incumbent Rep.Dennis RossDennis Alan RossRep. Ross Spano loses Florida GOP primary amid campaign finance scrutiny Israelis and Palestinians must realize that each needs to give, not just take Court opens door to annexing the West Bank — and the consequences could be disastrous MORE (R). Spano originally had plans to seek the Florida attorney general’s office but dropped out of that race for a seat in the House. In the general election, he defeated attorney Kristen Carlson.

Spano suffered a “mild” cardiac event during the race, but he quickly returned to the campaign trail.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Spano, who first won elected office in 2012 to the Florida House of Representatives. In the state House, one of his prominent issues was cracking down on human trafficking in Florida and improving victims’ rights.

A Florida native, Spano attended college at the University of South Florida before getting his law degree in Tallahassee at Florida State University. Before holding elected office, he practiced law for nearly two decades.


Rep.-elect Greg Steube (R-Fla.-17)

DATE OF BIRTH: May 19, 1978
RESIDENCE: Sarasota, Fla.
EDUCATION: B.S., J.D., University of Florida
FAMILY: Wife, Jennifer; one son

Greg Steube will be heading to Washington for the first time after winning Florida’s 17th Congressional District in the south-central part of the state.

The race drew national attention after Steube’s Democratic general election opponent, April Freeman, suddenly died in September.

Steube will be replacing retiring Rep. Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneyHouse Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (R), who had served in the House since 2009.

A veteran, Steube enlisted in the United States Army after the 9/11 terror attacks. He did stints as both an airborne infantry officer and in the Army JAG Corps. He was a captain in the 25th Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After his service, he went on to elected office in both the Florida state House and Senate.

A fifth-generation Floridian, Steube grew up working on a farm in Florida, before earning his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Florida.


Rep.-elect Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.-26)

DATE OF BIRTH: Jan. 18, 1971
OCCUPATION: Nonprofit director
EDUCATION: B.A., Pitzer College; M.A., Claremont University
FAMILY: Husband, Robert; three children

In one of the biggest upsets of the year, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell ousted Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloThe Memo: Trump furor stokes fears of unrest GOP wants more vision, policy from Trump at convention Mucarsel-Powell, Giménez to battle for Florida swing district MORE (R-Fla.). Curbelo, a centrist, represented the South Florida 26th District for two terms. Despite being a vocal critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE, he found himself facing an uphill fight in a district that backed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAppeals court pauses 6-day extension for counting Wisconsin absentee ballots Trump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push Sunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates MORE in 2016. The district stretches from suburban Miami to Key West and is the third most Hispanic in the country.


Mucarsel-Powell was born in Ecuador and immigrated to the U.S. with her three sisters and mother.

Mucarsel-Powell worked for a number of nonprofits in her community, including the Coral Restoration Foundation, Zoo Miami Foundation and the Hope Center. She also worked to establish and grow the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program at Florida International University, which works to improve health services in underserved communities. She was also an associate dean at Florida International University’s College of Medicine.


Rep.-elect Donna Shalala (D-Fla.-27)

DATE OF BIRTH: Feb. 14, 1941
RESIDENCE: Coral Gables, Fla.
EDUCATION: B.A., Western College for Women; Ph.D., Syracuse University
FAMILY: Single

Donna Shalala is no stranger to public service, perhaps best known for serving as former President Clinton’s secretary of Health and Human Services between 1993 and 2001. Prior to that, she served in the Carter administration, working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she focused on women’s issues and anti-discrimination efforts.


Now Shalala is returning to Washington to represent Florida’s 27th District. The retirement of Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenEx-Florida GOP congresswoman under federal investigation: report 'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Shalala to face Salazar in Florida rematch MORE (R), who held the South Florida seat for 29 years, made it a top Democratic target. The 77-year-old Shalala defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar.

Outside of government, Shalala has been a longtime educator, serving as president of Hunter College and then as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

When she left the Clinton administration she became president of the University of Miami, where she stayed until 2015. 

She is the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to her by former President George W. Bush in 2008.