Al Lawson
Al Lawson 115th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byCorrine Brown
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 6th district
In office
November 5, 2002 – November 2, 2010
Preceded byPat Thomas
Succeeded byBill Montford
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
November 7, 2000 – November 5, 2002
Preceded byPat Thomas
Succeeded byNancy Argenziano
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
November 3, 1992 – November 7, 2000
Preceded byRobert Trammell
Succeeded byCurtis B. Richardson
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 9th district
In office
November 7, 1982 – November 3, 1992
Preceded byLeonard J. Hall
Succeeded byHurley W. Rudd
Minority Leader of the Florida Senate
In office
Preceded bySteven Geller
Succeeded byNan Rich
Personal details
Born (1948-09-23) September 23, 1948 (age 73)
Midway, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Delores Brooks
(m. 1975)
EducationFlorida A&M University (BA)
Florida State University (MPA)
WebsiteHouse website

Alfred James Lawson Jr. (born September 23, 1948)[1] is an American politician who is the U.S. representative for Florida's 5th congressional district, serving since 2017. The district stretches across most of the border with Georgia, including most of the majority-black areas between Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

A Democrat, Lawson served in the Florida legislature for 28 years. From 1982 to 2000, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives. From 2000 to 2010, Lawson was a member of the Florida Senate (representing the 6th district), where he was elected to serve as the Democratic leader and rose to the rank of "Dean of the Senate" before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. After two failed campaigns for Congress, Lawson defeated incumbent Corrine Brown in the 2016 Democratic primary and won the general election.

Early life and education

Lawson as a state representative, 1984
Lawson as a state representative, 1984
Lawson as a state senator, 2006
Lawson as a state senator, 2006

Lawson was born in Midway, Florida, and attended Havana Northside High School, where he was a standout athlete in basketball and track. He went on to be a basketball star at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science. After a brief stint as a professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks,[2] Lawson returned to Tallahassee, where he landed a job at Florida State University as an assistant basketball coach and took the Seminoles to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Lawson also earned his Master of Public Administration from Florida State University.

U.S. House of Representatives



Main article: 2010 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida § District 2*

Lawson ran for the Democratic nomination in Florida's 2nd congressional district in 2010, challenging seven-term incumbent Allen Boyd.[3] He narrowly lost to Boyd in the Democratic primary,[4] and Boyd lost to Republican newcomer Steve Southerland in the general election by more than 12 percentage points.[5][6]


Main article: 2012 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida § District 2

Lawson ran for the seat again, and won the Democratic nomination against Blue Dog-endorsed state representative Leonard Bembry. He lost to Southerland in the general election by less than 6 points.[7]


Main article: 2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida § District 5

A lawsuit challenging the Florida congressional district map radically changed the 5th district. For the past quarter-century, the district and its predecessors had covered most of the majority-black precincts from Jacksonville to Orlando. The new map changed the district to an east–west configuration stretching across all or part of eight counties from Tallahassee to downtown Jacksonville. The redrawn district included Lawson's home in Tallahassee, and Lawson announced he would run for the 5th on December 15, 2015, setting up a battle against Corrine Brown, the only representative the district had had since its creation in 1993.[8]

The district's demographics appeared to be against Lawson. While it now included most of Tallahassee, the capital and its suburbs only accounted for 32% of the district's population, while the Jacksonville area accounted for 61%.[9] But Lawson's candidacy received a significant boost in July 2016, when Brown was indicted on federal corruption charges.[10] He defeated Brown in the Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic district—on August 30. He then defeated Republican Glo Smith in the November 8 general election with 64% of the vote.[11]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Gun law

After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, Lawson expressed frustration with the lack of action on gun regulation and placed blame on lobbying organizations, saying "the stranglehold of the gun lobby has gone on long enough".[14] Lawson supports restriction on assault weapons.[15] In 2017, he voted no on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would require all states to recognize concealed carry permits issued in other states.[16][17] Additionally, those with concealed carry permits would be permitted to carry concealed weapons in school zones.[18] Lawson also voted no on the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would have allowed veterans who are considered "mentally incompetent" to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge.[16][19]

Yemeni civil war

Lawson was one of five house Democrats to vote for the U.S. to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia and to support the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[20] This vote was part a vote series that allowed debate and votes on the Farm Bill in 2018, which he called a necessary step to provide assistance to farmers in his largely agricultural district.

See also


  1. ^ Florida, State Library and Archives of. "U.S. Congressional candidate Al Lawson, at right, speaking with Bob Fulford at a picnic of the Democratic Club of North Florida in Tallahassee, Florida". Florida Memory.
  2. ^ Gangitano, Alex (22 March 2017). "Florida Democrat talks about his American Basketball Association career". Roll Call. CQ Roll Call. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  3. ^ Kam, Dara (2009-02-05). "Palm Beach Post Blogs: Area news, sports, entertainment, business & more". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  4. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (2010-08-25). "Rep. Allen Boyd holds on in Florida". Politico. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  5. ^ Helgoth, Ali (2010-11-03). "Southerland defeats Boyd". The News Herald. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  6. ^ "2010 General Election Results". Florida Division of Elections. 2010-11-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  7. ^ "November 6, 2012 General Election, Official Results". Florida Division of Elections. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
  8. ^ Caputo, Marc (December 15, 2015). "Lawson announces run for Congress". Politico.
  9. ^ "Daily Kos Elections congressional district redistribution analysis (post-2010 census)". Google Docs.
  10. ^ Kelly, Nora (July 8, 2016). "Representative Corrine Brown Indicted on Federal Charges". The Atlantic.
  11. ^ Gardner, Lynnsey; Moyer, Crystal (August 30, 2016). "After 12 terms in Congress, Corrine Brown defeated". WJXT. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  12. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Leary, Alex (15 February 2018). "Florida Democrats say school massacre a call for gun control". Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay, Florida. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  15. ^ Patterson, Steve (7 November 2016). "Al Lawson wins North Florida seat in Congress, replacing U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown". Jacksonville, Florida. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Al Lawson, Jr.'s Voting Records on Issue". ISPY. Vote Smart. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  17. ^ Mosendz, Polly (2017-11-29). "Get Ready for Concealed Guns in All 50 States". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  18. ^ Kruzel, John (2017-12-07). "Concealed carry bill lets states regulate guns in schools". Politifact. Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  19. ^ Caplan, Andrew (21 February 2018). "Your leaders: 4-1 against stricter gun laws". The Gainesville Sun. Gainesville, Florida. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  20. ^ Fuller, Matt; Ahmed, Akbar Shahid (12 December 2018). "5 Democrats Bail Out Paul Ryan And Protect Saudi Arabia". Huffington Post.
Florida House of Representatives Preceded byLeonard J. Hall Member of the Florida House of Representativesfrom the 9th district 1982–1992 Succeeded byHurley W. Rudd Preceded byRobert Trammell Member of the Florida House of Representativesfrom the 8th district 1992–2000 Succeeded byCurtis B. Richardson Florida Senate Preceded byPat Thomas Member of the Florida Senatefrom the 3rd district 2000–2002 Succeeded byNancy Argenziano Preceded byStephen R. Wise Member of the Florida Senatefrom the 6th district 2002–2010 Succeeded byBill Montford Preceded bySteven Geller Minority Leader of the Florida Senate 2008–2010 Succeeded byNan Rich U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byCorrine Brown Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Florida's 5th congressional district 2017–present Incumbent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byDavid Kustoff United States representatives by seniority 268th Succeeded byBrian Mast