Frederica Wilson

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Frederica Wilson

Frederica Wilson is a member of the US Congress representing the 17th District of Florida.

Early life

Frederica S. Wilson was born on November 5, 1942 in Miami’s Overtown community, but was raised in nearby Liberty City. The daughter of Beulah Finley and Thirlee Smith, a small business owner and local civil rights activist, she learned the value of community activism from a young age. Her parents always taught her to care for the downtrodden and to share with the less fortunate and were one of the first African American homeowners in Miami-Dade County. Her brother, the late Thirlee Smith, Jr., rose to become the first full-time African American reporter at the Miami Herald. [1]


Wilson earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Fisk University in 1963 and her Master of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Miami in 1972. She served as a teacher and as assistant educational coordinator for Head Start in Miami. For a short time, she left the working world to raise her three children. She returned to serve as the assistant principal of Skyway Elementary School, later becoming the school’s principal. In 1992, the school was honored by Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander as part of President George H.W. Bush’s “America 2000” plan to upgrade national education standards. From 1992 to 1998, she served on the Miami-Dade County School Board, where she helped introduce an African American history component into the teaching curriculum.[2]


In 1998, Wilson successfully ran for a seat in the Florida State House of Representatives, where she served as Minority Whip for four years until 2002. From 2002 to 2010, she served in the Florida State Senate, where she served as Minority Leader Pro Tempore and as Minority Lead Whip. She soon became known as the “Conscience of the Senate” for her willingness to tackle historically ignored issues. Her achievements include working with Republican Governor Jeb Bush to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol, mandating HIV/AIDS testing for newly-released prisoners, opposing high-stakes standardized testing , pushing for a ban of the term “illegal alien” in state public records, and partnering with Republican Governor Charlie Crist to restore voting rights for ex-felons. Wilson has a long history of working with her colleagues across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation.

In 2010, Wilson emerged from a competitive nine person primary to win election overwhelmingly to represent the 17th District of Florida in the United States House of Representatives. The 17th District includes Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward Counties.

In Congress, she serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she is focused on America’s role on the global stage, particularly in Haiti and the Caribbean. As a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, she is committed to bringing jobs back to our communities and increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Energy, and Math) funding for our schools.[3]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 2011 Frederica Wilson was a new member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[4]

She was still a member in 2013.

Congressional Black Caucus

Frederica Wilson is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[5]

Black Caucus jobs campaign

In mid 2011, "demands to address the country's jobs crisis are accelerating with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) joining a growing number of groups calling for federal action". The CBC resolved to hosting a For the People Jobs Initiative in several urban areas stricken by high unemployment.[6]

Haiti statement

On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Rep. Donald Payne (NJ), Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL), and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) made a joint statement in response to the eviction and destruction of camps on public property in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince:

“On Monday, May 23, 2011, our offices were alarmed at the startling news that three camps of internally displaced persons in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince were effectively destroyed. This included the park at the intersection of Delmas Road and Airport Road which was destroyed at the hands of the Haitian police, under direction of Mayor Wilson Jeudy. This camp is home to several hundred people and is a microcosm of the over 800,000 officially-recognized displaced persons in Haiti. It is even more disturbing that this incident occurred during the day while many Haitian women and men were out in search of employment. Those who stayed behind witnessed the destruction of their belongings while some were violently beaten with batons by police.[7]

Two Haiti forums

In October 2011, Congresswomen Frederica Wilson was convened two forums on Haiti - the first with Yvette Clarke, and Maxine Waters.

“Building Back Haiti More Justly: Enforcing the Rights of Haiti’s Poor Majority”

Who/What: Policy forum covering IDPs in Haiti, unlawful and violent evictions in tent camps, ongoing deportations, and a rights-based approach to rebuilding

Participants: Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney with Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Assistant Director for Haiti Programs, University of San Francisco School of Law; Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux; Etant Dupain, Director of Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye, a Haitian grassroots organization that is a partner of TransAfrica Forum’s Let Haiti Live Project; Laura Raymond, International Human Rights Associate of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Gueter Aurelien, Law Student, University of Miami Law Clinics; and Mary Beth Gallagher, Advocacy Officer of RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.

The second with Reps. Yvette Clarke, Gwen Moore, Barbara Lee.

“The Dominican Republic’s Attempts to Revoke the Citizen of Dominicans of Haitian Ancestry”

Participants: Noemi Mendez, a leading Dominican human rights lawyer representing some of the effected individuals; Ana Maria Belique Delba, one of the few Dominicans of Haitian ethnicity who has won an appeal of the confiscation of her identity documents; and Sonia Pierre, a Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Laureate and a Dominican of Haitian-descent.[8]

Haiti Advocacy Working Group

In 2012, the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, Haitian social movements and Haitian Diaspora groups were working with the U.S. Congressional allies, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, to raise attention to the current status of Haiti’s reconstruction process at the 2 year commemoration marker.

From January 23-25, 2012, Haitians, HaitianAmericans and other Haitian development experts brought their voices to Capitol Hill.

HAWG allies advocated for a just reconstruction and development process in Haiti, one that prioritizes the needs of women, internally displacedpersons, smallholder farmers, the urban poor, immigrants and other vulnerable Haitians, includes the full participation ofHaitian grassroots groups and the Diaspora and holds the US government accountable for delivery of its commitments.

Monday, January 23 4-6pm: Gender Based Violence Panel, hosted by Representatives Frederica Wilson and Barbara Lee.


  • Tuesday, January 24 9am-10:30am: Rep.’s Barbara Lee, Yvette Clarke & Donald Payne sponsoring panel on health & cholera
  • Noon-2pm: Rep. Yvette Clarke sponsoring and TransAfrica Forum hosting a viewing of a documentary, ‘Where did the money go?’, and follow-up briefing, on aid accountability, transparency and procurement.
  • 2-4pm: Rep.’s Lee, Wilson, Payne and Clarke co-sponsoring panel on Land and Housing.[9]

ARA endorsement, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Frederica Wilson in 2012.[10]

PDA connection

In June 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Sandy Davies, was assigned as contact for Rep. Wilson.[11]

"Employment: A Human Right"

Following the establishment of the Congressional Full Employment Caucus February 2014, Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) are hosting a forum entitled, "Employment: A Human Right," moderated by Christina Bellantoni, Editor-in-Chief of Roll Call, this Wednesday, February 5th from 2 -- 3pm in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building. Esteemed panelists for this forum included: Dean Baker the Co-Director and Co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies; Phil Harvey, Professor of Law and Economics at Rutgers University; Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL-CIO; and Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Insitute.[12]

White House Summit on Worker Voice

At the White House Summit on Worker Voice October 2015 President Barack Obama declared: "If you're not at the table, you are on the menu."

He was quoting Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of many top union leaders attending the day-long session. Also participating were organizers of low wage workers, researchers, academics, several business leaders, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Al Franken, D.-Minn., and Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, Gregory Meeks, D.-N.Y., and Frederica Wilson, D.-Fla.

Obama acknowledged that workers' rights have been weakened by anti-union laws and policies, but throughout the Summit he repeated his opinion that the main culprit has been "the combination of globalization and automation" that allows corporations "to do more with less." He said what's needed is a "refashioning" of the "social compact so that workers are able to be rewarded properly for the labor that they put in."

Obama suggested that employees and employers work together to create a new "culture" on the job that allows workers to have a voice.

President Obama closed the Summit on Worker Voice by saying, "I see this as the beginning of the conversation, not the end."[13]

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [14]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Praising CAIR

“I acknowledge and congratulate CAIR for 19 years of providing American Muslims a platform to bring issues of concern to the forefront and compel action.” -Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) (August 2013). [15]


The following are past and present staff:[16]