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Bill Nelson (politician)

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Senator

Clarence William Nelson (born September 29, 1942) is the senior U.S. Senator from Florida. He is a Democrat.

Nelson was born in Miami. He attended Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1965, and later served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1965 to 1971 (and on active duty from 1968 to 1970). During this time, Nelson studied at the University of Virginia, where he received his law degree in 1968.

Nelson worked as a fire marshal and later as a lawyer before beginning his political career in the Florida House of Representatives. Nelson served in the state house from 1972 to 1979, when he left the state house following his election to the U.S. House of Representatives the following year. Nelson served in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1991. In 1986, he became the second sitting congressman to travel into space; Nelson served aboard the Columbia space shuttle on the STS-61-C mission with six other astronauts from January 1218, where he was the payload specialist. At the end of the mission, Nelson traveled over 2.1 million miles in 96 earth orbits and logged over 146 hours in space.

Nelson ran an unsuccessful campaign to the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in 1990. He lost to Lawton Chiles, who went on to win the general election and serve until his death. During the campaign, he tried to make an issue out of Chiles' health and age, a strategy that backfired on him in a state with a large population of retirees and senior citizens. From 1995 to 2000, Nelson was the Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner of Florida. In the 2000 election, Nelson won the election for Florida senator, beating then-Representative Bill McCollum, the Republican candidate in an open seat election to replace retiring Republican incumbent Connie Mack.

Some experts and pundits initially considered Nelson to be a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election. He has announced his intent to run for reelection in 2006 and is widely considered to be the most vulnerable Democratic Senator seeking reelection.

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Preceded by:
Louis Frey Jr.
U.S. Representative from Florida's 9th Congressional District
1979-1983
Succeeded by:
Michael Bilirakis
Preceded by:
Daniel A. Mica
U.S. Representative from Florida's 11th Congressional District
1983-1991
Succeeded by:
Jim Bacchus
Preceded by:
Connie Mack III
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Florida
2001-
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End box Template:FL-FedRep Template:Current U.S. SenatorsNelson, Bill

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