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Birthdate: Sept. 21, 1948
Birth Place: Tallahassee, FL, United States
Residence: Tallahassee, FL
Al Lawson was born, raised and currently resides in Tallahassee, Fla. He received a bachelor's degree from Florida A&M University, where he played basketball, and a master's degree from Florida State University.
He had a brief stint as a professional basketball player and returned to Florida State University as an assistant basketball coach.
He was an insurance agent in Tallahassee for over 35 years.
Lawson was elected to the Florida House in 1982 and the state Senate in 2000.
Lawson and his wife, Delores, have two adult children.
Al Lawson easily won a four-way Democratic primary to win his party's nomination in August 2012 and faces freshman Republican Rep. Steve Southerland in the November general election for Florida's 2nd Congressional District seat.
Lawson was elected to the Florida House in 1982, and served until he was elected to the state Senate in 2000.
Lawson believes that improving the public education system is important to long-term improvement of the U.S. economy. He favors expanded early childhood education and wants to protect Pell grants and Stafford loans to ensure college is accessible.
He says he would work to protect Social Security and Medicare. He opposes programs that turn Medicare into a voucher system, arguing that it would force seniors to pay more out of pocket.
Lawson worked across party lines frequently, especially after Republicans took control of the Legislature in the mid-1990s.
When some blacks and women in the Legislature complained that their issues were being held up in the final days of the 1995 session, Lawson said not only black lawmakers, but all Democrats, must learn to adjust to Florida's new political landscape.
He was among only three senators who voted against a bill in 2005 that banned lobbyists from being able to pay for food, booze or any other gifts for Florida lawmakers and other state and local officials.
Lawson also introduced a measure in 2005 to add a 2-cent per roll tax on toilet paper as a way to pay for wastewater treatment and help small towns and counties upgrade their sewer systems. It didn't pass.
The Legislature in 2006 passed the First Generation Matching Grant Program sponsored by Lawson after black enrollment declined the previous year at the state's 11 public universities. Supporters said a disproportionate number of minority high school graduates could not afford college.
Source: Associated Press
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