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Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

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Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 9th district
Assumed office
November 18, 2008
Preceded by Loranne Ausley
Personal details
Born (1960-07-09) July 9, 1960
Rochester, New York
Political party Democratic
Alma mater New College of Florida
University of South Florida (B.A.)
University of Florida College of Law (J.D.)
Profession Attorney/college professor
Religion Catholicism

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (born July 9, 1960) is a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 9th District, which includes most of Leon County, since 2008.

Personal life

Rehwinkel Vasilinda was born in Rochester, New York and moved to Florida in 1977 to attend New College, where she studied from 1977 to 1982, before graduating from the University of South Florida in 1982 with a degree in social and behavioral studies. Following this, she attended the University of Florida College of Law, graduating with her Juris Doctor in 1985. She is the mother of two adult daughters and three adult stepsons and is married to Mike Vasilinda.[1]

Florida House of Representatives

In 2008, when incumbent State Representative Loranne Ausley could not seek another term due to term limits, Rehwinkel Vasilinda ran to succeed her in the 9th District, which included parts of Gadsden County, Jefferson County, and Leon County. She won the Democratic primary unopposed, and faced Peter Boulware, the Republican nominee and a former football player for the Florida State Seminoles and the Baltimore Ravens. Despite the district's Democratic lean, Boulware was competitive with Rehwinkel Vasilinda, and managed to significantly outraise her.[2] In the end, she emerged narrowly victorious, winning by 430 votes and with 49% of the vote.

She was challenged in the Democratic primary in 2010 by Rick Minor, the former Chairman of the Leon County Democratic Party. Minor attacked her for voting in favor of offshore oil drilling, a vote that she contended was part of "a much larger energy package," declaring that she "never promoted, supported or defended offshore drilling."[3] She was also attacked for being "a liability," as in 2008, she "barely won in a district that Barack Obama took by 24 points."[4] Despite these spirited attacks, however, Rehwinkel Vasilinda easily defeated Minor, winning 69% of the vote. In the general election, she faced Kirk Headley-Purdue, who did not present much of a challenge to her, and she comfortably won with 59% of the vote.

When districts were redrawn in 2012, Rehwinkel Vasilinda remained in the 9th District, which became solely located in Leon County. She faced Bradley L. Maxwell, the Republican nominee who had previously run against former State Representative Curtis Richardson in 2000, as her general election opponent. The Tallahassee Democrat endorsed her for re-election, citing her efforts to protect government jobs in the district, specifically praising her for fighting "to save the jobs of workers at the Jefferson Correctional Institution, which was slated for closure."[5] In the end, she was re-elected overwhelmingly, winning 62% of the vote. In 2014, Rehwinkel Vasilinda was opposed in the Democratic primary by Arnitta J. Grice-Walker. Due to the fact that no other candidates filed, the election was decided in an open primary, which she won in a landslide, securing her fourth and final term in the legislature.

The Representative currently serves on the House Rules & Calendar Committee and Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, and she is the Democratic Ranking Member on the Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee and Finance & Tax Subcommittee. In the past, Rehwinkel Vasilinda has served on the committees for Economic Development Policy, Health & Families Policy Council, Health Care Regulation Policy Committee, and the Select Committee on Government Reorganization. She has also been the Ranking Member on Choice & Innovation Subcommittee, Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

Environmental and agricultural issues are significant areas of her work in the legislature as well as economic development through tax reform and the film, entertainment, sports, television, and tourism industries to include a new focus on “eque-tourism” and the equestrian industry. In 2010, Rehwinkel Vasilinda convened the Big Bend Anti-Bullying Task Force, and, in 2013, she hosted an Anti-Bullying Roundtable. Rehwinkel Vasilinda also hosted the Clean Energy Congress in both 2010 and 2013. She is the Initiator and Co-chair with State Senator Nancy Detert of the Florida Film, Entertainment and Television Caucus. As a freshman legislator, she reconstituted the Film, Entertainment, and Television Caucus and was responsible for the passage of $220,000,000 in television and film credits to bring and keep jobs in the state of Florida.[6] At the request of the Speaker of the House, Rehwinkel Vasilinda served as a member of the Agriculture & Energy Committee at the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009. She was also appointed by Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis to a three-year term on the Vision 2016 Commission, tasked with studying and visioning the future practice of law in a global economy.


  1. ^ "State Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda". Florida House of Representatives. State of Florida. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ Kaczor, Bill (November 7, 2008). "Ex-NFL, Florida St. star Boulware concedes". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Derby, Kevin (May 7, 2010). "Energy at Center Stage in Democratic Primary Fight for FL House Seat". Sunshine State News. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ Derby, Kevin (July 26, 2010). "Republican Candidate Headley-Perdue Posts Strong Financial Figures in 9th House Race". Sunshine State News. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Our Opinion: State House, District 9". Tallahassee Democrat. October 11, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle. "Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda's Resume". WCTV News. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Florida House of Representatives - Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda
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