Kathy Castor

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Kathy Castor

Kathy Castor is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 11th district of Florida. She is the chair of the US House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.[1]

She represents Florida’s 14th Congressional district, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg and parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. She was originally elected in 2006. Castor is the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in the U.S. Congress.[2]


Before her election to Congress, Castor served as a Hillsborough County Commissioner and chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. In 2005, Castor was named as the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Woman of the Year in government.

Castor is a graduate of Tampa’s Chamberlain High School, Emory University and Florida State University College of Law. Castor and her husband have two daughters. She is the daughter of former Hillsborough County Judge Don Castor and former University of South Florida President and statewide-elected Education Commissioner Betty Castor. She is the former President of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers and partner in a statewide law firm. [3]

Deplatforming Advocate

Citing a report[4] from Avaaz, Kathy Castor "is calling on YouTube to stop including climate change misinformation in its recommendation algorithm and to demonetize videos that deny climate change."[5]

Kennedy admirer

Rep. Castor, who has personal admiration and affinity to the Kennedy legacy. U.S. Rep. Castor chose her first office in the House Office Building because it was once that of John Kennedy when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives prior to serving as Senator and then President. In addition, former Florida Education Commissioner and USF President Betty Castor, U.S. Rep. Castor’s mother, joined the Peace Corps and went to Africa to teach under the inspiration of President Kennedy, who asked Congress to create the volunteer program as one of his first presidential acts. Former U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, who traveled with JFK in Tampa was a mentor to U.S. Rep. Castor.[6]

Praised ACORN

On September 7, 2007 Kathy Castor (D-FL) announced local, state and federal initiatives to address the housing crisis.

At a press conference in East Tampa, Castor highlighted the efforts of local organizations like the Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa, St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services, ACORN and First Housing to help those facing foreclosure. She also underscored plans in Congress to bring relief to homeowners and borrowers in the Tampa Bay area.[7]

Defending ACORN

In 2009, the scandal over the undercover videos prompted a September vote in the House to follow the Senate and vote on an amendment denying funding to ACORN. The vote, on a provision attached to a student aid bill, was 345-75, with Democrats supplying all the “no” votes.

Florida Democrats voting no included Robert Wexler of Boca Raton, Kathy Castor of Tampa and Corrine Brown of Jacksonville.[8]

Immigration "reform"

Hoping to capitalize on momentum from the January 2013 bipartisan U.S. Senate proposal and President Barack Obama's speech on immigration, Tampa area "amnesty' groups organizing rallies, scheduling news conferences, attending town hall gatherings and meeting with members of Congress from Manatee to Polk counties.

"This is the democratic process, right? We're exercising our fundamental rights," said Edwin Enciso, an organizer with Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now, which serves as the main coordinator for the campaign. "That, to me, is the most beautiful thing."

The campaign grew out of a meeting at the West Tampa Library, where advocates met to discuss how they could push for comprehensive reform.

The Tampa Bay Emergency Immigration Summit included more than 50 organizers throughout west-central and southwest Florida, including Sarasota, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Polk counties. Advocacy groups represented at the summit included United We Dream Tampa Bay, Mi Familia Vota, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

They've already won over U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who publicly announced her support earlier this month.[9]

ARA endorsement, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Kathy Castor in 2012.[10]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and Senator, Thomas Filbert, was assigned as the contacts for Rep. Castor.[11]


Kathy Castor has long been active in trying to ease restrictions on Cuba.

Charter flights to Cuba

In 2009 Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, pressed Commerce Department officials to support her bid to allow charter flights to Cuba from Tampa International Airport. Commerce Department officials said the matter falls under the jurisidiction of the Department of Homeland Security, but promised after Castor complained of passing the buck to see that DHS contacts Castor.[12]

Cuban Interests Section

In 2011, Castor met with the Cuban Interest Section, which provides services comparable to a consulate, regarding the Cuban charter flights along with lobbying Obama Administration officials for the Tampa service.

Kathy Castor, who began lobbying for Tampa International-Cuba flights in February 2009.Castor said she urged the Cuban Interest Section, a Cuban government arm that handles some U.S.-Cuba communications in the absence of embassies, to approve island landing rights.[13]

Cuba trip


Kathy Castor traveled to Cuba in early April 2013, with members of her staff and representatives of the Center for Democracy in the Americas;

Cuba is changing, however, as I learned on my recent fact-finding visit. Cuba has embarked on meaningful economic reforms, which deserve encouragement by the United States, not continued isolation. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have a window of opportunity to engage and encourage reform in Cuba and should act now.
I met with several Cubans who now work for themselves and are creating employment opportunities for other Cubans, which increases autonomy and self-determination. Cuba's decision to eliminate most travel restrictions is modestly increasing mobility, earning power and the ability to provide financial support for their families.

These developments remind me of the historic economic changes since the 1980s in the former Soviet bloc countries, and in China and Vietnam over the past 25 years. Indeed, I traveled to the former East Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution. The United States was directly engaged with those nations during their transition, and Americans were free to travel and interact with their people. American legal and economic experts and businesses directly aided the transition to greater freedom and personal economic opportunity.
Reforming Cuba policy will improve our diplomatic standing in the region and, at a critical moment, strengthen the credibility of our policy against terrorism. The Summit of the Americas concluded in 2012 with a warning from our allies that if Cuba is not allowed to attend the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama, they will boycott this important regional conference. The Obama administration should use the next two years to put U.S.-Cuban relations on a constructive path.

In this context, America could send a powerful signal to our allies in the region by responding creatively and appropriately to the peace negotiations taking place in Cuba between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. These peace talks may result in an end to five decades of violence and provide the United States with an important foreign policy victory. The United States has devoted years of leadership and millions of dollars of investment for peace in Colombia. All Western Hemisphere nations, including Cuba, should continue to work together to end the violence.[14]

Castor has worked for years to help arrange direct flights from Tampa International Airport to Havana, but her support for ending the embargo and travel restrictions goes further than before.

Castor said Fidel Castro is no longer in power, described his brother, President Raul Castro, as "a much more practical ruler," and said there is a generational change in Cuba's government.

"They are still a hard-core communist nation, but they are embarking on market reforms in their economy that deserve encouragement," said Castor.

Castor said she plans to ask President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "to open talks to lead to greater trade and travel opportunities."[15]

CDA connection

Kathy Castor, CDA Board Chair Curt Schaeffer
Castor, Annie Betancourt and CDA Director Sarah Stephens, July 11, 2013

Rep. Kathy Castor also attended the Center for Democracy in the Americas' 7th Anniversary Event, July 11, 2013.

"Take Cuba off the Terror list"

Rep. Castor wrote President Barack Obama. “One of the reasons used to justify Cuba’s presence on the State Sponsors of Terror List was its support of the FARC. This rationale is no longer valid, and it provides our nation with an opportunity to remove Cuba from the list and focus on global actors who need our attention.”

After returning from Cuba, on a trip led by the Center for Democracy in the Americas, Rep. Castor never stopped working. She used contacts she made at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana to connect grandparents in her district to Cuban and U.S. officials, trying to facilitate the return of Chase and Cole Hakken, children abducted by their parents in Tampa and taken by boat to Cuba.[16]

Rapprochement With Cuba

In April 2013, the Center for International Policy recently partnered with the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy to host Rapprochement With Cuba: Good for Tampa, Good for Florida, Good for America. Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) provided the opening remarks at the Friday evening cocktail event in Tampa, FL and welcomed the panelists. Panelists included Wayne Smith (CIP), Peter Kornbluh (National Security Archives), Counselor Llanio Gonzalez-Perez (Cuban Interests Section), Mike Mauricio (Florida Produce), Dan Whittle (Environmental Defense Fund), and Colonel Larry Wilkerson (Former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and now a distinguished visiting professor at William and Mary). The following day, the panelists discussed the Obama Administration’s Cuba policy, the State Department’s list of terrorist states, the Cuban-American vote, the U.S. Congress’s Cuba policy, doing business in Cuba, deep water oil drilling in Cuba’s terrestrial waters and travel to Cuba at the Historic Cuban Club.[17]

The highlight of the evening was hearing Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) express her specific interest in normalizing relations with Cuba. According to Representative Castor, “Congress needs to change its policy towards Cuba, but Congress doesn’t have to act for the U.S. to begin to engage.”[18]

Many in the audience had come to hear the keynote speaker, Miami Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia.

Garcia failed to appear as scheduled, but it’s doubtful his comments would have resonated as much as the remarks by Tampa’s own Kathy Castor. The congresswoman stunned many in the audience when she forcefully declared that the U.S. government’s 51-year restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba no longer made any sense — going further in condemning the sanctions than any Florida lawmaker has ever gone.

Alluding to the fact that significant issues still remained, Castor insisted that they could be dealt with diplomatically.

“I am confident that change is on the horizon,” she began. “Think about what can happen at the Port of Tampa, ports all across the Southeast. All across America. These are values that we share as Americans — trade, travel and the ability to have a productive dialogue. There’s no reason any longer that it should not move forward.”

Among those cheering Castor that evening was The Nation magazine contributor Peter Kornbluh of the D.C.-based National Security Archive. He now calls Castor a “trailblazer for a new, modern, post-Cold War policy towards Cuba,” and says the four-term congresswoman can be the catalyst to redefine the Florida-Cuba relationship, which until now has generally been controlled by Castro-hating exiles who live in Miami.[19]

Lifting travel ban on Cuba

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.

Signatories included Rep. Katherine Castor.[20]

Castor successfully advocated to ease travel and spending restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba. In January 2011, President Obama announced that Tampa International Airport's eligibility to resume direct flights to and from Cuba after more than two years of a Castor-led lobbying effort. TIA is now one of the busiest airports in the nation for direct flights to Cuba. In 2013, Castor went on a fact-finding visit to Cuba and has advocated more engagement with the island nation to promote modernization. The Center for Democracy in the Americas presented Congresswoman Castor with the 2013 award for Courage in Congress for her advocacy in changing U.S. policy towards Cuba.[21]

"Cubans in the New Economy: Their Reflections and the U.S. Response"

Castor addresses the conference

In December 2013, the Center for Democracy in the Americas brought five Cubans to the U.S. to discuss the economic changes underway on the island, and describe how those changes are affecting the lives of Cubans. The conference "Cubans in the New Economy: Their Reflections and the U.S. Response, " CDA cohosted at the George Washington University, featured the Cuban guests, plus Alex Lee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14), and several other experts.

Yamina Vicente, who has opened a party decorations business, said: "A couple years ago in Cuba, creating a micro-enterprise was something in books, something in speeches, something in theory. Now, we can see that creating a micro-enterprise in Cuba has transcended discourse and become a reality."[22]

Ambassador Cabañas speaks in Tampa

José Ramón Cabañas, Chief of Mission of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C., traveled to Tampa, FL in January 2014 and spoke at an event hosted by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Tampa International Airport. The trip marked the first official visit to Tampa by an Interest Section Chief in more than a decade. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) also attended the event.

Rep. Castor pushed for the U.S. to engage with Cuba, saying that “There are changes happening on the island and in the economy. They can own private property and own cars. They have small businesses, they’re in auto repair or they have their own restaurants. Now is the time for the U.S. to promote those changes, to encourage those changes.”[23]

Cuba Working Group

July 25, 2014, Castor had a Cuba Working Group meeting with USINT - Havana incoming Chief of Mission Jeff DeLaurentis. [24]

Meeting with Sarah Stephens

Rep. Castor had a July 30, 2014 meeting with Sarah Stephens, Center for Democracy in the Americas.[25]

Spoken with Obama

In October 2014, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, said she has spoken with President Barack Obama on the issue and believes he may make a major announcement on relations with Cuba by April to show he is committed to normalizing relations — something he pledged to work toward during his first campaign for the White House.

The president cannot lift the travel and trade embargo the U.S. imposed on Cuba in the early 1960s after Fidel Castro overthrew the government of the island nation and embraced Marxism. Only Congress can sweep away the policy of isolating Cuba.

But the president does have the power, Castor said, to make decisions that can chip away at the embargo’s goal of separation between the two nations — lifting the travel ban, for example, or taking Cuba off the U.S. list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

Rep. Castor said she agrees that Cuba needs to improve its human rights record but insists that engagement is the best way to make that happen.

“We can do a lot to help their people,” Castor said, “but the governments keep getting in the way of our ability to do that.”

I hope the president does go,” Castor said. “It could be a defining moment for both countries.”

She noted that the U.S. already works with Cuba on a number of issues, including fighting drug trafficking and planning for oil spill cleanups.

“America and Cuba have so much to gain by turning the page on these Cold War policies,” Castor said. “And all of our friends in the hemisphere are in favor of that happening.” [26]

Meeting with the Cuban technology entrepreneurs

Posted on May 13, 2016.

Cuba Working Group meeting on Capitol Hill with the Cuban technology entrepreneurs behind Ke Hay Pa’ Hoy?, a digital media platform that builds on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to promote the Cuban cultural product.

Creators Juan Luis Santana Barrios, Juan Alejandro Hernandez Perez and Sergio Leon Gonzalez spoke about their business and challenges and opportunities for technology development in Cuba with Representatives Mark Takano (CA-41) and Kathy Castor (FL-14). Castor is a co-chair of the bipartisan Cuba Working Group.[27]

2016 Cuba visit

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 16 other House Democrats will join President Barack Obama on his historic trip to Cuba March 20-22.

Obama will be the first president to visit Cuba in 88 years, and the trip is a symbolic next chapter in his attempts to normalize relations with the country.

The House members will attend along with several senators who previously announced they will make the trip.

The House delegation includes Reps. Karen Bass, Cheri Bustos, Sam Farr, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Kathy Castor, David Cicilline, Steve Cohen, Jan Schakowsky, Peter Welch, Alan Lowenthal, Jim McGovern and Lucille Roybal-Allard. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California will also travel to Cuba along with Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Udall of New Mexico are slated to join the trip. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who has been a leading advocate for normalizing relations with Cuba, will also attend. Additional House Republicans may also join.

Pelosi previously led the first official House delegation trip to the country after Obama announced the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in 2014.[28]

2018 Cuba visit

February 2018 Cuban President Raul Castro received a bicameral delegation of US lawmakers.


"During the meeting they discussed matters of interest to both countries," the Cuban government said in a statement.

The delegation, led by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont,comprised of Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Michigan's Gary Peters, along with representatives Kathy Castor of Florida, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Susan Davis of California.

Leahy has been one of the most active politicians inside the Capitol in advocating the improvement of US-Cuba relations, which defrosted somewhat in 2014 under Barack Obama after half a century of tension.[29]

Led by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the U.S. legislators met with Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, the newly appointed director for United States in the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

The lawmakers are reportedly on a "fact-finding trip" concerning changes in the Cuba policy introduced by the Trump administration following alleged health incidents involving US diplomats in Havana.

"A pleasure to welcome U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and the congressional delegation (…) Enjoyed a constructive and candid dialogue," Fernandez de Cossio posted on his Twitter account. The Cuban diplomat is said to have told the visitors during the meeting that no evidence has been found by either Cuba or the US regarding the cause of those incidents.[30]

Meeting Cuban president


U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement after meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly today:

“For the first time in nearly six decades, the world is seeing Cuba without a Castro at the helm. For the United States, this is a new opportunity for improved relations with our neighbor just 90 miles off the Florida coast – one we cannot afford to let slip by. During the meeting, I stressed the importance of continued dialogue and engagement between the U.S. and Cuba to benefit the citizens of both countries. President Díaz-Canel expressed the hope for normal relations between the two countries as well.

“I shared the desire of Tampa families and businesses for greater opportunities in education, trade, health care, agriculture and more. The Cuban government has sent mixed messages and not followed through on some shared business plans during the most significant transition of power that occurred over the past couple of years. Cuba’s new leader has the opportunity to usher in a number of positive changes on the island and we encouraged him to focus on improving the everyday lives of Cubans including increased access to the internet and support for the Cuban private sector.

“Now, with the Trump Administration’s return to Cold War policies toward the island, it is more difficult to build trust and successfully push for improvements in family travel and human rights. At a time of historic transition in the leadership of Cuba and revision to its constitution, Trump has practically shut down the American embassy and America’s presence on the island including political officers that monitor human rights and promote American interests. This is unfortunate and unwise.

“Our wide-ranging conversation included a bipartisan and bicameral group of members of Congress and ranged from renewable energy, human rights, agriculture, travel, Venezuela, Colombia, telecommunications and even Major League Baseball. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, director general of the United States Department at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, and Cuban Ambassador to the United States Jose Cabanas also were in attendance, as well as President Díaz-Canel’s wife Lis Cuesta Peraza.”

U.S. Rep. Castor visited Cuba in 2013, and upon her return she called for lifting the Cuba embargo and sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry outlining the changes, challenges, and opportunities she saw for modernizing relations with the island. Since then, she has brought Cuban Ambassador Jose Cabanas to Tampa to discuss greater engagement and economic reforms, held Tampa/Cuba forums to educate the Tampa Bay region’s families and businesses on the evolving landscape, attended the opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. and filed bipartisan legislation to lift the Cuba embargo to end the status quo in Cuba and make real progress on human rights. U.S. Rep. Castor revived the House bipartisan Cuba Working Group to build broader support in Congress for greater engagement with Cuba and has led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to the island to survey progress and examine travel, trade, jobs, internet access, human rights and agriculture. She has been critical of President Trump’s decision to reinstate failed isolationist policies towards Cuba.[31]

EMILY's List

Castor was supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.

Jane Castor

Congresswoman Kathy Castor endorses Jane Castor for Tampa Mayor

Congresswoman Kathy Castor endorsed Jane Castor for Tampa Mayor. which she won in April 2019.

Planned Parenthood rally

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor joined about a dozen women's rights advocates July 21 in downtown Tampa to rally support for a bill overriding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month allowing some companies to opt out of providing insurance for contraception on the basis of religious freedom.

Dressed in bright pink T-shirts and carrying signs that read, "I'm the boss of my body," members of Planned Parenthood of Southwest & Central Florida lined up behind Castor as she spoke in favor of legislation she co-sponsored that's dubbed "Not My Boss's Business Act."

The bill would "return the legal guarantee to women and allow them to control their own lives," said Castor, D-Tampa, at the rally in Lykes Gaslight Square Park.

Senate Republicans have blocked the bill from being taken up.

Becky Killick, regional field director for Planned Parenthood in the area, told supporters to reach out to their Congressional representatives and encourage them to back the bill if it's reintroduced.

"I can't believe in 2014 we're still fighting for something as basic as birth control," Killick said.[32]

Muslim connections

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [33]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

MLK Day event, Tampa

CAIR - Florida's Hassan Shibly spoke at Martin Luther King events Program in Tampa, FL [Allen Temple AME Church], January 17, 2017.

Other participants were: U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor; Albert Coleman, Commuinity Affairs, Hillsborough County; Rev. Dr. Glenn B. Dames; Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson; Rabbi Josh Hearshen; and Rev. Stephen Green.[34]

Protesting "Muslim travel ban"

Two days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning citizens from some predominantly Muslim nations from coming to the United States, hundreds gathered at Centennial Park Tampa (Ybor) to speak out against what they believe to be a White House with anti-immigrant policies.

"This is a community founded by immigrants," Ana Lamb, a leader with the League of United Latin American Citizens, said.

Another protester was Johnny Wong, a 31-year-old Tampa resident is of Chinese and French descent. In 2009, he converted to the Muslim faith and is now married to a Muslim woman.

The executive order sparked confusion and fear within Florida's Muslim-American community, said Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR - Florida. The group was inundated with thousands of calls for help over the weekend, many from people with family members who live in one of the seven countries.

There was another protest from noon to 3 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, voiced her support for Muslims by calling the travel ban "illegal" and "un-American."

Tampa City Council members Guido Maniscalco and Luis Viera were at the Ybor rally and said as descendants of immigrants they stand with the Muslim community.

Lisa Higgins, 54, was at the Ybor rally, as was Sharon Saaf (80).[35]

Heberlein connection

Kimberly DeFalco September 8, 2018:


With Kathy Castor and Tim Heberlein at St Paul Lutheran Church Tampa ELCA.

Grim Reaper

On Halloween morning 2017 , Tampa U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said Americans shouldn’t be fearful about signing up for the Affordable Care Act, which begins open enrollment on Wednesday.


“Do not let them scare you away from affordable health insurance,” Castor said at a news conference held at the Old Tampa Bookstore in downtown Tampa.

Jodi Ray is project director for the Florida Covering Kids & Families (FL-CKF) program at the Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies, USF College of Public Health. She is responsible for hiring and training navigators around the state to help adults shopping for subsidized insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Those who don’t qualify for subsidies on the ACA, however, will see their insurance premiums rise next year.

Helen Kirton, a health care worker from Tampa and a member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), criticized President Trump’s proposed federal budget, saying that the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare “are going to be devastating.”

“I need medication to live,” said Dolores Grayson with Organize Florida. She’s on Medicare, which subsidizes the cost of the prescriptions drugs she uses. Without insurance, one of those drugs costs $600 a month.

Getting into the Halloween spirit at the news conference was Tim Heberlein with the activist group Organize Florida, clad as the Grim Reaper.

“Do not let them scare you away from affordable health insurance,” Castor concluded, as she gave a wayward glance over to the personification of death.[36]

Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founders

In August 2018 Medicare For All Congressional Caucus founding members included Representative Kathy Castor.

External links


  1. MEET THE CHAIR, accessed January 28, 2020
  2. Kathy Castor official bio, accessed Nov. 15, 2014
  3. Kathy Castor official bio, accessed Nov. 15, 2014
  4. Why is YouTube Broadcasting Climate Misinformation to Millions? accessed January 28, 2020
  5. Congresswoman calls on YouTube to stop promoting climate misinformation, accessed January 28, 2020
  6. Castor Press release, JFK in Tampa: The 50th Anniversary documentary archived in Library of Congress today, President Kennedy’s birthday
  7. Press Release Castor Targets Housing Crisis Tampa, Sep 17, 2007
  8. [http://www.federaljack.com/florida-may-do-battle-with-acorn/FederalJack.com Florida may do battle with ACORN September 18, 2009]
  9. Tampa Bay Times, Immigration reform advocates pushing lawmakers for action Laura C. MorelLaura C. Morel, Times Staff Writer Wednesday, January 30, 2013
  10. ARA endorsements 2012
  11. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  12. farmers, ranchers push for greater Cuba access Art Heitzer Apr 28, 2009 12:05 PDT
  13. http://tbo.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?avis=TB&date=20110708&category=ARTICLE&lopenr=307089951&Ref=AR&profile=1103&template=printart Tampa officials, groups continue to push for Cuba flights Jul 8, 2011 - By Ted Jackovics ]
  14. I learned from my trip to Cuba By U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor published in the Tampa Bay Times on May 19, 2013
  15. Tampa Bay Times, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor: Lift Cuba embargo, travel limits,April 8, 2013
  16. [https://cubacentral.wordpress.com/tag/rep-kathy-castor/, Cuba Central blog, Castor’s Got Courage, But Has Kerry Got Game? April 26, 2013]
  17. CIP Cuba Report Rapprochement With Cuba Posted on 04/10/2013 by CIP
  18. /0413_RapprochementCuba_TampaConference.pdf, CIP conference report Rapprochement with Cuba Tampa, Florida March 23, 2013
  19. dtampa.com,, Winds of change blowing around Cuba May 02, 2013 By MITCH PERRY
  20. Update on Cuba Travel: We Gathered 59 Signatures, The LAWG Cuba Team: Mavis, Emily and Karina on May 03, 2013
  21. Kathy Castor official bio, accessed Nov. 15, 2014
  22. [https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/GreenLeft_discussion/conversations/topics/84090Green Left discussion Restricted Group, 991 membersNEW VIDEO: "Cubans in the New Economy: Their Reflections and the U.S. Response"video]
  23. Cabañas speaks in Tampa Cuba Standard
  24. Castor official website, EVENTS AND SCHEDULE, accessed Dec, 23, 2014
  25. Castor official website, EVENTS AND SCHEDULE, accessed Dec, 23, 2014
  26. The Cuban handshake, U.N. vote on Cuba embargo again pits U.S. against world October 27, 2014
  27. CDA Cuba Working Group meets with the Cuban technology entrepreneurs Posted on May 13, 2016
  28. Politico, Pelosi, 16 House Democrats to join Obama trip to Cuba By Lauren French,| 03/14/16
  29. Patrick Leahy Press release, 02.16.18
  30. [1]
  31. [https://castor.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398773 PRESS RELEASE U.S. Rep. Castor Meets with Cuban President, Stresses Importance of Continued Dialogue and Engagement Washington, September 24, 2018]
  32. Tampa Bay Times, Rep. Castor rallies for bill overriding court's contraception ruling By Liz Crampton, Times Staff Writer Monday, July 21, 2014
  33. H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States, accessed December 26, 2015
  34. [2]
  35. [http://www.tampabay.com/news/tampa-protests-among-many-planned-in-florida-after-trumps-travel-ban/2311275 Tampa Bay Times, Trump's travel ban prompts protests in Tampa Hundreds gathered in Ybor City's Centennial Park to protest the executive order on Sunday. LUIS SANTANA | Published: January 29, 2017Updated: January 30, 2017 at 10:33 AM]
  36. FlaPol Kathy Castor: Don’t be scared to sign up for Affordable Care Act ByMitch PerryonOctober 31, 2017