ENG: Frederica Wilson (born November 5, 1942) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 24th congressional district. Located in South Florida, the majority African American district includes the southern parts of Broward County and the eastern parts of Miami-Dade County. Included within the district are Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, and North Miami. She gained national attention in early 2012 as a result of her high-profile comments on the killing of Trayvon Martin, who was a constituent of hers and whose family she knew personally.
Wilson, who describes herself as a "voice for the voiceless", is a member of the Democratic Party. Her seat was left open when the incumbent Kendrick Meek ran for a seat in the Senate.
Wilson is famous for her large and colorful hats, of which she owns several hundred.
She has gone through efforts to get Congress to lift its ban on head coverings during House sessions, which dates back to 1837.
Early life, education, and career
Wilson was born Frederica Smith on November 5, 1942 in Miami, Florida, the daughter of Beulah (née Finley) and Thirlee Smith. Her maternal grandparents were Bahamian. Wilson earned her bachelor of science degree from Fisk University in 1963, and her master of science degree from the University of Miami in 1972. She served as the Principal of Skyway Elementary School in Miami. She served on the Miami-Dade County School Board from 1992 through 1998.
Wilson represented District 104 in the Florida House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002.
She then represented the 33rd District in the Florida Senate from 2003 to 2010. She served as Minority Pro Tempore in 2006, then Minority Lead Whip.
An early supporter, in 2008 she voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden as one of Florida's presidential electors.
U.S. House of Representatives - 2010 election
When Kendrick Meek retired from Florida's 17th congressional district to run for the United States Senate in 2010, Wilson ran for the open seat, and won the Democratic nomination to face her Republican challenger to win Meek's seat. On November 2, 2010 she won in the general election without electoral opposition, in a district where the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election.
Wilson is widowed. She has three children.
Wilson is an avid wearer of hats. She has a large collection that includes hundreds of hats of all different varieties. She wears one every day to honor her late grandmother. She has asked House Speaker John Boehner to waive the rule prohibiting the wearing of hats on the floor of the House of Representatives, a rule in place since 1837.
January 23, 2013