The U.S. Senate confirmed former Florida Congresswoman and attorney, Gwen Graham, as assistant secretary of legislation and congressional affairs in the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday.
Representing the Tallahassee area and other parts of North Florida, Graham was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015 to 2017 and lost a bid for governor in 2018.
After losing in 2018, Gwen would go on to work on President Biden’s campaign in 2020 where she and her father, Bob Graham, held a campaign kickoff for Biden in Miami. She also served as one of three constituency chairs for the grassroots organization known as Florida Women Leaders for Biden. As for her father, Bob Graham is a former Florida governor and U.S. senator who served with Biden for over 20 years.
Before serving in the U.S House, Graham worked as an attorney where she focused on public education as chief of labor and employee relations for the Leon County School District.
In April, President Biden announced Graham’s nomination where he said that Graham was “one of the House’s most bipartisan members,” and that during her time with the Leon County School District was “involved in every aspect of the educational process and was recognized for her integrity and fairness.”
After her nomination, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona praised Graham by saying, “Graham brings decades of invaluable experience as a public education leader, federal legislator, and public servant to this role.”
He added, “As a graduate of public schools and the parent of public school graduates, she is keenly aware of the importance of a strong public education system that serves all students well.” Cardona noted that Graham’s prior service is “instrumental in shaping and implementing the Department’s legislative goals and strategies.”
Hours after the news of her confirmation, Graham released a statement on Twitter where she wrote, “Honored to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate today. Thank you to @POTUS & @SecCardona for their support – The value & importance of public education has been a cornerstone of my life. So proud to work on behalf of our nation’s students, families & educators.”
Graham received praises from Florida Democrats following the announcement. Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book tweeted in response to the news, “Congratulations to @GwenGraham – and to the students, families, and educators across the country who will benefit from her leadership.”
Florida Agricultural Commissioner Niki Fried tweeted, “We are all proud of you, @GwenGraham!!!” And Florida House Representative Ben Diamond of Pinellas County tweeted, “Congratulations @GwenGraham! Florida is cheering you on as you begin this new role. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to serving the people of our state and our nation.”
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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.