Rep. Bill Posey (R)
Elected: 2008, 1st term.
Born: Dec. 18, 1947, Washington, DC .
Education: Brevard Comm. Col., A.A. 1969..
Family: Married (Katie Ingram); 2 children.
Elected office: Rockledge City Cncl., 1976-86; FL House, 1992-2000; FL Senate, 2000-08.
Professional Career: McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., 1966-69; Crawford & Co./Gay & Taylor, 1970-74; Founder, Posey & Co. Realtors, 1974-present.
The new congressman from the 15th District is Bill Posey, a Republican who succeeded seven-term GOP Rep. Dave Weldon in 2008. Posey was born in Washington, D.C., but moved several times due to his father’s work in the aircraft business. His family landed in Brevard County in 1956, and after graduating from high school, Posey took a job with McDonnell Douglas Astronautics at the Kennedy Space Center. He worked on the Apollo 11 Launch Team and attended Brevard Community College at night. After Apollo 11 successfully put men on the moon, Posey received a congratulatory letter from the director of NASA, and a month later, was laid off. Despite the turn of events, Posey does not harbor ill will towards NASA. “There’s only one thing in this world that the United States is first and foremost respected in right now, and that happens to be space exploration,” he says. Posey changed careers and went into real estate. He founded Posey & Co. Realtors in 1974 and is still president of the company. Posey is also an accomplished stock car racer, although an accident at an Orlando speedway in 2004 left him with spinal fractures and he says he has taken a break from racing.
|Bill Posey (R)||192,151||(53%)||($909,257)|
|Stephen Blythe (D)||151,951||(42%)||($113,372)|
|Frank Zilaitis (NPA)||14,274||(4%)||($38,694)|
|Bill Posey (R)||40,892||(77%)|
|Alan Bergman (R)||7,809||(15%)|
|Kevin Lehoullier (R)||4,519||(8%)|
He was the first member of his family to register as a Republican, a decision inspired by a college professor who lauded the Democratic Party’s championing of inflation and deficit spending. “He literally was trying to convince the class that inflation was good because you could buy the things you wanted now and finance them later with cheaper money,” Posey recalls. He was elected to the Rockledge City Council in 1976 and served until 1986. Four years later, he won a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, and served until 2000, when term limits forced him to resign. He then won a close and contentious state Senate race.
After Weldon announced his retirement in January 2008, Posey decided to run for the seat. He got Weldon’s endorsement and that of Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer, who called for the party to unite behind Posey. Veteran state Rep. Stan Mayfield, who had also announced his candidacy, fell in line, withdrew from the race and endorsed Posey.
Florida Democrats were unable to find a strong candidate after former Brevard County Commissioner Nancy Higgs dropped out of the race in February, and Posey became the clear favorite to win the general election. He won the GOP primary with 77% of the vote, and entered the general election with $230,000 in cash on hand. Stephen Blythe, a Melbourne family physician, won the Democratic primary with 65% of the vote and entered the general election with $8,789 in cash.
Posey made government accountability the central theme of his campaign. In the Florida House, Posey authored legislation that set new standards for state government accountability, and he wrote a book entitled, “Activity Based Total Accountability” detailing his work on the issue. The legislation won praise from the American Legislative Exchange Council. Posey also stressed immigration reform, advocating securing America’s borders and deporting all illegal immigrants who are known to have committed a crime.
It was an amiable contest. Both candidates expressed mutual admiration and said that they would vote for each other if they could not vote for themselves. Posey outspent Blythe by almost 9-to-1, and won 53% to 42%. Independent candidate Frank Zilaitis got 4%.
Once in Washington, Posey got a seat on the House Financial Services Committee, the center of the action in the House on the ongoing government bailout of the financial markets. In January 2009, Posey took his first step towards his goal of increasing government transparency when he succeeded in getting the committee to post the results of every committee vote on its website within two days. He said he will not accept the cost-of-living pay raise that House members receive each year, and will return the money to the Treasury or donate it to charity.