The four-term congresswoman who represents Tampa and parts of St. Petersburg had a good year in 2014. Not only did she win re-election without drawing an opponent, but her behind-the-scenes effort working with President Obama on normalizing relations with Cuba reached fruition with the president’s dramatic announcement last December that the two nations would resume diplomatic efforts.
Kathy Castor has championed health care issues since being elected, and she’s been front and center in getting the word out for eligible Floridians to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. Last September she proudly announced that the University of South Florida had received the largest “navigator” grant in the nation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist families and consumers shop and enroll in the health insurance marketplace.
Although she’s never shown much ambition for leaving her safe congressional district for higher office, her name is bandied about as much as any Democrat outside of South Florida when it comes to potential 2016 Senate nominees.
“Congresswoman Kathy Castor deserves significant positive public recognition for changing her position from opposing constructive engagement with the Cuban Government — during her first years in Congress — to now leading significant efforts for rapprochement with Cuba,” says Al Fox with the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation, who lost to Castor in a five-way race for the seat back in 2006 after Jim Davis stepped down to run for Congress.
Castor has been a progressive voice on the environment and economic conditions for the middle class — someone who has never forgotten her “core tenet Democratic values,” says Democratic consultant Ana Cruz.
“Sometimes members of Congress go up to Washington and forgot who they represent,” Cruz adds. “Kathy Castor has never forgotten who she represents.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel that assembled it, please read here.