Tony Hill

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Anthony Hill


Anthony C. "Tony" Hill, Sr. was the Florida State Senate Minority (Democratic) Whip.

He resigned his seat in 2011, to take a job for Jacksonville's mayor-elect Alvin Brown. A special election was called to fill Hill's seat, which he would have left in 2012 due to term limits.

Hill will serve as a special assistant and liaison to Tallahassee and Washington.[1]

Background

Tony Hill was born September 9, 1957 in Jacksonville, Florida. he served in the U.S. Army, 1977-1983, Baumholder, West Germany, with two honorable discharges.[2]

Hill currently works for Service Employees International Union 1199.

Legislative Service

  • Elected to the Senate in 2002, reelected subsequently
  • Minority (Democratic) Whip, 2010-2012
  • Minority (Democratic) Whip, 2008-2010
  • Minority (Democratic) Lead Whip, 2004-2006, 2006-2008
  • Democratic Floor Leader, 2002-2004
  • House of Representatives, 1992-2000[3]

Honors and Awards

  • ONYX Magazine, 25 Most Influential Floridians, 2002
  • Florida Labor Hall of Fame, Youngest Inductee, 1st African American[4]

Affiliations

Education

  • National Labor College, B.A., Labor Studies, 2001
  • Attended Edward Waters College, 1995; Honorary Doctorate
  • Attended Lincoln University, 1975-1977

Activism

Reparations for the historical Rosewood massacre and a resolution apologizing for the legislatures long support of slavery and expressing Florida’s profound regret for the shameful chapter in the state’s history are both hallmarks of a Hill agenda.

As a state representative, Hill reverted to the old-fashioned methods reminiscent of the 1968 Civil Rights Movement by joining former Congressman Kendrick Meek (then a state senator) for a sit-in when former Gov. Jeb Bush refused to rescind an executive order to abolish affirmative action.

Barbara DeVane-Gilberg, is executive director of We All Count.A veteran labor organizer, she is also a member of the executive board of the Florida National Organization for Women . In Jan. 2000, she joined State Rep. Tony Hill and State Sen. Kendrick Meek in a 24-hour sit-in in Jeb Bush’s office in Tallahassee to protest his racist “One Florida” repeal of affirmative action.[6]

"My greatest accomplishments have been having records cleared for those who participated in Florida’s Civil Rights Movement from 1963 to ’64, the Black Male College Explorers Program at Florida’s four HBCUs and amendments to improve classroom size and minimum wage," Hill said. "What I am most passionate about is encouraging more Black males to major in education, graduate, and come out teaching school."[7]

"Community organizer"

Writing in the Huffington Post of September 8, 2008, in an article entitled "From Organizer To Elected Official" Democratic Socialists of America member Peter Dreier listed several serving US politicians who had begun their careers as "community organizers". They were US Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Representatives John Lewis of Georgia, Jan Schakowsky and Danny Davis of Illinois, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Linda Sanchez of California, and Donna Edwards of Maryland, Washington House of Representatives Speaker Frank Chopp, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, state legislators Beth Low of Missouri, Michael Foley of Ohio, Gilbert Cedillo of California, Tom Hucker of Maryland, Tony Hill of Florida, and Crystal Peoples of New York, Alameda County (California) Supervisor Nate Miley, City Council members Jay Westbrook of Cleveland, Chuck Turner and Sam Yoon of Boston, and Melvin Carter of St. Paul, and San Francisco School Board member Jane Kim. [8]

Endorsed communist candidate

In 2002, with the motto, “Protect the real Florida – for working people!” Communist Party USA member Russell Pelle ran for the Soil and Water Conservation Board in Duval County Florida , "hammering Republican Gov. Jeb Bush for coddling corporate polluters and real estate developers".

Pelle called for protection of Florida’s fragile environment. “Everywhere I go, I tell voters I am running against Jeb Bush,” Pelle told the Peoples Weekly World. “The Soil and Water Board is pretty low on the electoral totem pole but Bush’s policies have been a disaster for the Florida environment. If I am elected, I will fight urban sprawl, fight to protect the people from toxic wastes.”

Pelle was endorsed by the North Florida Central Labor Council (NFCLC), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and by Tony Hill, a community organizer for the Service Employees International Union who won the Democratic nomination for State Senate from Jacksonville in Florida’s Sept. 10 primary.[9]

Votes for felons

While serving as Chair of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, Hill and other members encouraged Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist to issue an Executive Order establishing a Task Force to develop the requirements needed for the State of Florida to begin the process of restoring Civil Rights and streamlining the restoring of Voting Rights to former felons who have completed their sentences and all other court ordered requirements. In 2007 the Governor issued an Executive Order that provided for the restoration of the civil rights for certain ex-offenders.

National Black Caucus of States Institute

In 2007 Hill was appointed as an At-Large member to the Executive Board of the National Black Caucus of States Institute for a three-year term.

African tours

Also, in October 2007, in conjunction with Enterprise Florida, Hill led a trade delegation to South Africa and Namibia as part of Florida’s efforts to expand business and cultural partnerships in Southern Africa. In October, 2009, Hill led another delegation to Dakar, Senegal, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. In April 2010 Hill and a delegation of heads of state and "key representatives of the African Diaspora" traveled to Senegal to celebrate 50 years of independence with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

Endorsing the People's World

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Tony Hill made a personal endorsement of the Communist Party USA's People's World of June 2, 2007, on page 2 of the publication.

Democratic Party

In 2008, Hill was one of two Senate Democratic members of the twenty-seven member Florida’s electoral college to certify Florida’s votes. Also in 2008, Hill was elected to a four-year term as a member to the Democratic National Committee and appointed to a four-year term as a member of the Florida Democratic Executive Committee.

Teaching program

To ensure the latter passion is both pursued and realized, Hill attended a town hall meeting with U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and film director/Morehouse graduate Spike Lee. The purpose was to launch TEACH, a national teacher recruitment initiative that encourages more students to choose teaching careers.

ACLU award

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida announced that Senator Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) and Representative Betty Reed (D-Tampa) received the organization’s “Defender of Freedom” award for the week which ended today, April 29, 2011.[10]

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists conference

From May 22-25, 2008, the Communist Party USA founded Coalition of Black Trade Unionists held their 37th International Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rep. Bennie Thompson was one of the speakers from the May 22 opening session. He was introduced by Tony Hill of Florida.[11]

Obama connection

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In the August 2009 Special Issue of Florida Trend Magazine, Senator Hill was featured as one of the “Must-Know Jacksonville Leaders”, with the quotation “ State Sen. Tony Hill was an early supporter of Barack Obama. He still has Obama’s ear.” In September 2009 the national political magazine, Campaign and Elections Magazine included Senator Hill as one of the fifty Democrats in “People of Influence.”

"I am a community organizer," said Hill. "I started at the grassroots level and became involved in other’s campaigns and attribute Obama’s success to strong community organizing."

Hill was appointed one of President Barack Obama’s "Fave Five" during the 2008 election cycle.

The lifetime Omega Psi Phi Fraternity member is also a sports enthusiast and joined President Obama for a Super Bowl XLV in Pittsburg, Pa.

"I’ve had casual interactions with the president, but I’d love quality time to talk about his growing up abroad," remarked Hill. "I admire Obama for his humility, intellect, and demeanor, but also have adoration for the wise Oprah Winfrey for her humanity and respect the motivating character of John Maxwell." [12]

During the 2008 Elections Hill served as Florida’s Co-Chair of the Florida Change Committee (and as a member of the Florida Advisory Council) for Senator Barack Obama’s successful bid for the Presidency. During the 2008 election cycle Hill led a state-wide bus tour, ”It’s About Us OBAMA/BIDEN”.

EFCA supporter

On May 7, 2009, Florida State Senator Tony Hill spoke at a Town Hall Meeting in Jacksonville, expressing his unwavering support for the Employee Free Choice Act.[13]

Hope of Bermuda appointment

In May 2009, State Sen. Tony Hill said Washington insiders had told him that President Barack Obama was close to appointing him as the senior U.S. diplomat in Bermuda. He would have to resign from the Senate to take the job.

Hill wasn't scheduled to leave office until 2012 because of term limits, but two people - state Rep. Audrey Gibson and former state Rep. Terry Fields - had already begun campaigning for the seat.

Hill, an early Obama supporter who is active with the national Democratic party, said he felt fairly confident the job was his.

"They keep saying next week, but I've been hearing that for three or four weeks," he said.

The job did not eventuate.[14]

Haitian Memorial Pyramid Project

The Haitian Memorial Pyramid Project was conceived in Jacksonville, Florida by Communist Party USA member Russell Pelle several months after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. In March 2010, it was presented to and supported by Florida State Senator Anthony Hill at a Haitian-American beach party. An Executive Board was established and project incorporated November 10, 2010. The first formal endorsement came from Senator Hill Nov. 24, 2010.[15]

Alvin Brown appointment

On June 30, 2011, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown unveiled many of his top-level advisers Thursday, including two state lawmakers who will serve as special assistants to the new mayor. Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, would step down to handle the mayor’s relationships with the Legislature and Congress, while Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, would also advise Brown. Jones was not expected to resign. Attorney Chris Hand would be Brown’s chief of staff, while former T-U columnist Abel Harding would take over as communications director.[16]

References