Born In: New York City, New York, United States
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative from Florida's 25th congressional district since 2023. She previously served as the representative from Florida's 23rd congressional district from 2013 to 2023 and from Florida’s 20th district from 2005 to 2013. Prior to that, she was a member of the Florida Senate from 32nd district in 2000-02 and 34th district in 2002-04. She was also a member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 97th district from 1992 to 2000. She served as the Democratic National Committee chair between May 2011 and July 2016; she resigned after WikiLeaks released a collection of stolen emails indicating that she and other members of the DNC staff had favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries. She is an active member of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Planned Parenthood, and Hadassah. She is also a breast cancer survivor. While she was not a direct target of the 2018 US mail bombing attempts, her office address was used as return address for all sixteen pipe-bomb packages.
Also Known As: Deborah Wasserman
Spouse/Ex-: Steve Schultz (m. 1991)
father: Larry Wasserman
mother: Ann Wasserman
children: Jake Schultz, Rebecca Schultz, Shelby Schultz
Born Country: United States
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: University Of Florida
Deborah Wasserman was born on September 27, 1966 in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, United States into the Jewish family of Larry Wasserman, a Certified Public Accountant, and his wife Ann, who worked at Macy's. Her brother Steven Wasserman is an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Her family lived in Lido Beach on Long Island from 1968 to 1978 before moving to Melville, Long Island, where she graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School East in 1984.
She then studied political science at the University of Florida and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in 1988 and Master of Arts with a certificate in political campaigning in 1990.
She developed her “love for politics and the political process” while participating in student government at the University of Florida, where she was president of the Student Senate and of the Graduate Student Council.
A member of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, she was also the founder and president of the Rawlings Area Council Government and served as vice president of the UF College Democrats.
In 1988, Debbie Wasserman Schultz was an aide to politician Peter Deutsch at the beginning of his state legislative career and helped him successfully run for US Representative of Florida's 20th congressional district in 1992.
Peter Deutsch subsequently suggested that Debbie run for his vacated seat in the Florida House of Representatives, which she won at 26, and became the youngest female legislator in the state's history.
She won 64% of the vote in 1992 and was reelected with bigger margins in later elections, serving four terms for eight years in the Florida State House of Representatives until reaching term limits.
She was then elected as a member of the Florida State Senate in 2000 from Florida’s 32nd district after defeating Republican opponent Ken Jennings by 66.39-33.61%.
Her notable legislative measures included the Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, which mandated that all new pool construction include pool safety equipment, and one creating a Children's Services Council for Broward County.
During the 2002 Florida Senate election, she ran for District 34 and won the Republican seat by defeating Art Waganheim by 63.63-36.37%.
When her mentor Peter Deutsch gave up his safe Congressional seat in 2004 to make an unsuccessful run for the Senate seat of retiring Democrat Bob Graham, she entered the race to replace him.
She was unopposed in the Democratic primary and was able to secure the heavily Democratic District 20 seat by 70.2-29.8% despite opponent and realtor Margaret Hostetter’s campaigns to discredit her.
She has since been undefeated and was reelected unopposed in the 2006 United States House of Representatives elections. She defeated Independent Margaret Hostetter and Socialist write-in candidate Marc Luzietti in the 2008 elections, and was able to increase her vote share to 77.48%.
She initially supported Hillary Clinton for her party's 2008 presidential nomination and was named one of Clinton's national campaign co-chairs in June 2007. However, after Senator Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee, she endorsed him and joined Senator Ken Salazar and Representative Artur Davis to second his nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
While her vote share decreased to 60.1% in 2010, she successfully defeated Republican nominee Karen Harrington, Independents Stanley Blumenthal and Bob Kunst, and Florida Whig Party candidate Clayton Schock.
After her district was renumbered to the 23rd in 2012, she again defeated Harrington by 63.2-35.6% and became the first white Democrat to represent a significant portion of Miami since 1993.
In April 2011, President Barack Obama chose her to succeed Tim Kaine as the 52nd chair of the Democratic National Committee, but many questioned the move feeling she came across as too partisan on television.
She ranked at the bottom in popularity among top Obama campaign surrogates in an internal focus study, but reportedly lined up supporters in 2013 to portray any decision to replace her as "anti-woman and anti-Semitic".
She was reelected for another term defeating Republican candidate Joe Kaufman by 62.7-37.3% in the 2014 general election. She was challenged by economist and law professor Tim Canova, endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, but won the primary with 57% votes before defeating Republican nominee Joe Kaufman with 56.7% of the vote.
In February 2017, Politico and BuzzFeed reported that Capitol Police accused five IT staffers working for over 30 House Democrats, including Wasserman Schultz, of trying to steal House computer equipment and violating House security policies. However, she did not fire one of the accused staffers, Imran Awan, until he was arrested for a relatively minor offense, and defended her decision amidst conspiracy theories promoted by conservative media and President Trump.
Before the 2016 presidential primary, she was criticized by both Clinton's opponents Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders for scheduling only six debates and for timing of the debates, and ultimately increased count to nine debates.
She resigned as head of the DNC in July 2016 after WikiLeaks published DNC emails that showed that some DNC staffers had actively supported Clinton against Sanders in the primary.
She was again unopposed in the Democratic primary in the 2018 election and defeated Republican challenger Kaufman, and Independent candidates Tim Canova and Don Endriss, securing 58.48% of the vote.
She was challenged by Florida attorney Jen Perelman in the August 2020 Democratic primary, but won it by 72-28%, and went on to defeat Republican Carla Spalding by 58.19-41.79% of the vote.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been married to renowned American banker Steve Schultz since 1991 and they have three children together: Rebecca, Jake and Shelby. She revealed in March 2009 that she had underwent seven surgeries related to breast cancer in 2008 while maintaining her responsibilities as a member of the House.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was embroiled into the October 2018 United States mail bombing attempts involving sixteen packages containing pipe bombs mailed to several Democratic Party politicians and other prominent critics of Donald Trump. All the packages had her office in Sunrise, Florida as return address, resulting in the package intended for Attorney General Eric Holder with a wrong address to be sent to her office instead.
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