Meet Frederica Wilson
Born in the Jim Crow South, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson defied the odds to become an educator, civil rights activist, and public servant.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson proudly represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District, one of the most culturally diverse communities in the country.
Born in Miami during the Jim Crow Era, Frederica was raised with the knowledge that she would face every possible obstacle if she hoped to leave an impact on the world. She learned the values of activism and community service from her parents, who were small business owners and civil rights activists. Her brother, the late Thirlee Smith, Jr., was responsible for implementing African American history into the Miami-Dade County Public School curriculum. Frederica’s belief in education as the ultimate equalizer led her to join her brother as an educator.
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Fisk University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Miami, Frederica worked as a teacher and assistant educational coordinator for Miami-Dade Public Schools’ Head Start program. She was respected for her work ethic and quickly became principal of Skyway Elementary School. As an educator, she constantly highlighted the need for students to learn about the world and work to improve it, which eventually led her to run for the Miami-Dade County School Board in 1992.
As a School Board Member, Frederica focused on mentorship programs and curriculum improvements that would create opportunities for students who were previously left behind by the education system. The 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project that she established was honored by President Bill Clinton with the Teaching Example of the Nation Award at the Summit for America’s Future.
Her success in improving Miami-Dade’s schools led to calls for Frederica to run for the legislature. She won seats in the Florida House of Representatives in 1998 and subsequently became a Florida Senator in 2002. As a lawmaker, she was given the honorary title “Conscience of the Senate” based on her drive to improve life for low-income families and communities of color.
In 2010, voters overwhelmingly elected Frederica to serve in the United States House of Representatives. She’s fought tirelessly to improve quality of life, create jobs, improve education, stop home foreclosures, protect Medicare and Social Security, and strengthen ties with Haiti and the Caribbean.
As Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment subcommittee, Congresswoman Wilson has used her education background to create opportunities for future generations. In 2013, she introduced the American Jobs Act, which has invigorated our economy for nearly a decade. She has also sponsored legislation to reduce homeowners’ insurance premiums, protect foster children, and defend Haitain women against violence.
In addition to her legislative successes, Congresswoman Wilson has brought more than $3.1 billion in federal grants, contracts, and assistance back to our district. This funding has created jobs, lifted people out of poverty, brought our infrastructure into the 21st Century, and improved our local economy.
Congresswoman Wilson is widowed and the proud mother of three children: Nicole, LaKesha, and Paul – and has five beautiful grandchildren.
Her successes are the result of hard work and grit. At every turn, Congresswoman Wilson has defied the odds and created a positive impact. Now, she’s hell bent on continuing that service to guide our community forward.