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Bob Graham on Gwen Graham: ‘I’m thrilled’ she might run for governor

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Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham says he’s “thrilled” his daughter, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, is considering a run for governor, calling her an “outstanding public servant.”

The proud dad noted that his offspring scored very high on Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy ranking of how often each member of Congress works across party lines.

“Gwen was No. 1 in the 27 members from Florida, and number seven overall. That’s the kind of leadership she has provided. And should she be honored with opportunities for service, she’ll do it again,” Graham Senior told Florida Politics.

Gwen Graham, a Democrat of Tallahassee, announced this week she won’t seek re-election to Congress after the state’s redistricting process reconfigured her congressional district to be less favorable to Democrats. She shared in this video release she’s considering a gubernatorial run in 2018.

“The redistricting process was super-broken two years ago, and it’s mildly broken now,” said her father. “I wish we had an independent commission to do this. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have had this fiasco of the legislature spending so much time on it, then finally throwing up their hands.”

As to whether Gwen Graham is seeking the advice of her dad, who has himself occupied the governor’s mansion, about the state’s highest office?

“Gwen is a mature, experienced person. But if she should pick up the phone and ask her father for some thoughts on a particular matter, I’m not going to turn down the governor,” Bob Graham replied smilingly.

“I think with Gwen Graham as governor, we would be on a trajectory that is more visionary and looking to the question of — what kind of Florida do we want to build together? This state is going to double in population in this century. Are we protecting the sensitive areas that protect our water supply? Dealing with transportation challenges? Building an educational system that will give our people the opportunity to have a world-class education and to be competitive in the world economy? These are the kinds of issues that would motivate her campaign.”

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at

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