William Steve Southerland, II (born October 10, 1965) is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 2nd congressional district. The district includes most of the eastern Florida Panhandle, from Panama City to the state capital, Tallahassee. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Southerland is a lifelong resident of Panama City. He is the fourth generation of five in his family to live in Bay County. In 1983, he graduated from A.
Crawford Mosley High School. He earned a B.S. degree in Business Management from Troy State University and an A.A. degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State Junior College.
Southerland is current co-owner/President of Southerland Family Funeral Homes, founded in 1955. He is also a founding partner in two other businesses, Genesis Granite & Stone, LLC and K & B Land and Timber Company, LLC.
He was appointed by the Governor of Florida to be a member of the Florida Board of Funeral Directors, and had the distinct honor of serving as Chairman during his second term. He was appointed by the Governor of Florida to be Chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida. He received his gubernatorial appointments from Governors Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush.
U.S. House of Representatives
Southerland won the Republican primary against Eddie Hendry, Ron McNeil, Barbara F. Olschner and David Scholl. He is part of the GOP Young Gun Program.
He was endorsed by U.S. Congressmen Eric Cantor, Jeff Miller, former State House Speaker Allan Bense, former Democrat Governor Wayne Mixson, State Rep. Jimmy Patronis, State Rep. Marti Coley, former U.S. Congressman Bill Grant, Lynn Haven Mayor, Walter Kelley. It was Southerland's first bid for elected office.
Southerland faced seven-term Democratic incumbent Allen Boyd in the November general election. Independent candidates Paul C. McKain and Dianne Berryhill were also on the ballot, and Ray Netherwood had qualified as a write-in candidate.
Republicans had very high hopes for taking this district, in part because it had been made considerably friendlier to them after the 2000 census. Part of heavily Democratic Tallahassee was shifted to the Jacksonville-based 3rd District, while heavily Republican Panama City, long one of the anchors of the 1st District, was shifted to the 2nd District. While Boyd had held the seat with little difficulty, John McCain had carried it by nine points in the 2008 presidential election.
Real Clear Politics rated this race a "Leans GOP".
CQ Politics rated the election as a toss up.
According to an October 2010 poll commissioned by The Hill, a Washington, D.C. newspaper, Southerland was ahead of Boyd by 12 percentage points, 50% for Southerland and 38% for Boyd, with 9% of likely voters undecided. Boyd represented this district since 1997. In 2008, John McCain carried this district with 54% of the vote.
In the November 2 general election, Southerland defeated Boyd with 52 percent of the vote. Southerland is the first freshman Republican to represent the 2nd since its formation in 1963 (it was the 9th District from 1963–1967 and has been the 2nd since 1967). The only other Republican to ever represent this district, Bill Grant, was originally elected as a Democrat in 1986, but switched parties midway through his second term.
Steve and Susan Southerland have four children. He is a Charter member and former trustee of Northstar Church.
Southerland served as Chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board as well as such community boards including the Florida State University Panama City Development Board and the Covenant Hospice Foundation Board. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and founding member and former Vice President of the Bay Patriots.
October 11th, 2011