Ginny Brown-Waite (born October 5, 1943), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing the 5th District of Florida. (map) The district stretches along several counties in western and central Florida, including territory in the metropolitan areas of Tampa Bay and Orlando.
Brown-Waite was born in Albany, New York and educated at the State University of New York at Albany. She earned a master's degree in public administration from Russell Sage College. She served as a staffer in the New York State Senate, eventually rising to legislative director. She moved to Brooksville, Florida in the 1980s, where she still lives. After serving one term as a county commissioner in Hernando County, Florida, she was elected to the Florida State Senate as a Republican from Hernando County. She served as Senate Majority Whip from 1999-2000, and was elected president pro tem of the State Senate in 2000.
The 5th District had been represented by Democrat Karen Thurman since its formation in 1993. However, after the 2000 Census, the legislature redrew the 5th to be slightly more friendly to Republicans. The new 5th was virtually coextensive with Brown-Waite's state senate district. Ironically, it was an open secret that Thurman had drawn the 5th for herself after the 1990 Census. Brown-Waite won a narrow victory despite the unfavorable publicity that came in October when police caught her husband, former state trooper Harvey Waite, stealing pro-Thurman lawn signs. She was re-elected in 2004 with 66f the vote.
Brown-Waite is a rank-and-file Republican. Since entering the United States Congress she has voted with the President and the Republican Party 90f the time. Yet she has broken with her party on several occassions. She was one of three Republicans who voted against a bill to give Terri Schiavo's parents the right to sue in federal court to keep her alive (Schiavo's home is located in the 5th). She opposes efforts to privatize Social Security and has criticized George W. Bush for fielding questions on the issue from hand-picked crowds. "Let me tell you the difference between a GWB town-hall meeting -- George W. Bush -- and a GBW -- Ginny Brown-Waite -- town-hall meeting: I don't load the audience with just the choir," she once said. She also opposes any change to an abstinence-only approach to sex education. She is a member of Republican groups such as Christine Todd Whitman's Its My Party Too, Ann Stone's Republicans for Choice, Mike Castle's Republican Main Street Partnership, The Wish List, The Republican Majority For Choice and Republicans For Environmental Protection.
However, she opposes abortion in most cases. She strongly opposes gun control, and proudly carries her gun on visits back to her district. She has expressed support for the death penalty, saying she believed she saw "a message" in a nosebleed suffered by death row inmate Allen Lee Davis during his execution on July 8, 1999. Brown-Waite, who saw in the blood the shape of a cross, believes that it either indicated Davis had made peace with God, or it was a message from God giving his blessing to the execution. She is also known for having proposed the American Heroes Repatriation Act, to move American soldiers buried in France and Belgium back to the United States. She additionally is a leading voice in the House for immigration reform, advocating military deployment along the U.S. borders and deporting illegal immigrants.