Gwen Graham never expected to run for public office. After graduating from college and law school, she worked in the private sector as an attorney and then focused on starting a family and raising her three children. Gwen volunteered to serve on her children’s school advisory board and as PTA president, then worked for her local school district where she brought together the administration, teachers and parents to improve education.
In 2014, tired of the politics as usual in Washington, Gwen challenged an extreme Tea Party congressman in a conservative district. She ran on a promise to fight for the middle class and campaigned in every corner of the district. Despite being a Republican wave year, Gwen won her race — one of just two Democrats in the entire country to defeat an incumbent Republican.
On the campaign and throughout her time in Congress, Gwen has followed in her father, Governor Bob Graham’s, footsteps with Graham Workdays, where she spends an entire shift working alongside Floridians. Her jobs have included work on farms, teaching in public schools, and even training with the United States Air Force in a T-38 jet.
In Congress, Gwen made helping Florida families her top priority and returned more than $2.5 million that belonged to veterans, seniors and families — all while cutting her office’s operating budget by over 15 percent.
Despite representing one of the most conservative districts of any Democrat in Congress, Gwen stood up for her values and was a fierce advocate for a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality. She joined with John Lewis and House Democrats in the sit-in to demand commonsense gun safety and voted to support President Obama’s DACA and DAPA immigration programs.
Drawing on her experience as a working mother and PTA president, Gwen voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act to reform No Child Left Behind and give local school districts more flexibility in teaching. She sponsored the Middle Step Act to expand technical education in middle schools and the Securing Our Schools Act to make schools safer. As governor, Gwen will end Florida’s high-stakes testing and reverse the lottery shell game, which has taken resources away from our schools.
Gwen rallied the Florida delegation to save the Apalachicola Bay and worked with Senator Bill Nelson to keep oil drilling off our beaches. She voted to support President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and believes we must make the Sunshine State the solar state. As governor, she will use Amendment One funds as voters intended, fight to restore the Everglades, and ban fracking in Florida.
She voted against Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare and she fought to protect Medicare and Social Security. Gwen believes we can work together to make the Affordable Care Act work better for Florida by expanding Medicaid and by reducing premiums and the costs of prescription drugs.
And Gwen fought to create good paying jobs for Floridians. She co-sponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage and for small businesses to help employees pay off their student loans. As governor, she’ll work to pass paid sick time, diversify Florida’s economy and finally achieve equal pay for equal work.
Gwen was Florida’s only Democrat to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, where she fought for our service members, veterans and their families. She also served on the House Agriculture Committee to be a voice for Florida’s farmers. Gwen fought for the USDA to expand their StrikeForce initiative to fight rural poverty in Florida, and she introduced the bipartisan AgShare Act, which would make it possible for new and beginning farmers to share idle government equipment.
Gwen has three children, Sarah, Graham and Mark Ernest, and she is married to Stephen D. Hurm, a former law enforcement officer and attorney, who currently serves as a faculty member at Florida State University.