BioKathy Castor is the Tampa Bay area’s voice in the U.S. Congress. She is serving her third term representing Florida’s 11th Congressional district, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties. She was originally elected in 2006 and re-elected by voters in 2008 and 2010. Castor is the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the U.S. Congress.
Castor focuses on issues vital to Tampa Bay area families and businesses and is committed to building a stronger economy. She works on initiatives that create jobs, improve schools, provide access to affordable health care, and protect consumers and the environment.
Working on Behalf of Cuban-American Families
Castor is also dedicated to improving the lives of Cuban Americans. Castor successfully has advocated to ease travel and spending restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba. In January 2011, President Obama announced that Tampa International Airport is eligible to resume direct flights to and from Cuba after more than two years of a Castor-led lobbying effort.
Working to Protect the Florida Coastline and for Florida Businesses, Families After BP Oil Disaster
Castor fights to protect Florida beaches from offshore drilling. She is the author of the Florida Coastal Protection Act, which would make the 235-mile drilling ban off of Florida’s west coast permanent. Castor was active and outspoken in 2010 in her criticism of BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which impacted Florida’s beaches, economy and small businesses. In June 2010, she secured $10 million from BP to support Florida college and university marine research, including the University of South Florida and Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory. As member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010, Castor requested a report on BP's enormous advertising budget in the wake of the blowout, and said she was disappointed the oil company has spent more money "polishing its corporate image" than on helping Gulf Coast states recover from the April 2010 disaster.
In the fall of 2010, Castor introduced the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act to fund long-term economic recovery, environmental restoration and research with the fines and penalties to be paid by BP for its pollution under the Clean Water Act. Extensive bipartisan efforts are continuing on the Act in 2011.
In the 112th Congress, Castor is serving on the House Armed Services and Budget Committees. Castor sought the Armed Services assignment to focus on local jobs at MacDill Air Force Base. She is dedicated to improving the lives of the brave men and women who serve our nation, veterans and their families. One of the most important economic engines in the region, MacDill Air Force Base is home to U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and the 6th Air Mobility Wing with approximately 12,000 military and 1,300 civilian personnel.
Castor also sought a seat on the Budget Committee to work on cutting our nation’s deficit.
In the 111th Congress, Castor served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, where she worked on health care reform, consumer protection issues and telecommunications priorities. She also was a member of the House Ethics Committee.
In the 110th Congress, Castor served on the Rules Committee, a rare but prestigious committee assignment for a freshman. The committee has jurisdiction over the rules and order of business in the House.
Castor is also serving her third term on the Democratic House Steering and Policy Committee, which assigns fellow party members to other House committees and considers policy direction for the House Democratic Caucus.
Before her election to Congress, Castor served as a Hillsborough County Commissioner and chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. In 2005, Castor was named as the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Woman of the Year in government.
Castor is a graduate of Tampa’s Chamberlain High School, Emory University and Florida State University College of Law. Castor and her husband have two daughters. She is the daughter of former Hillsborough County Judge Don Castor and former University of South Florida President and statewide-elected Education Commissioner Betty Castor. She is the former President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and partner in a statewide law firm.