After 34 Year-Career, U.S. Representative Corrine Brown Leaves Lasting Legacy with Constituents
By Michael Laderman
ORLANDO, Florida – When the recent voting results came in this past August, and United States Representative Corrine Brown’s attempt at being elected for what would have been an amazing 13th term in Congressfell just short, it marked the first time in more than 35 years that she has lost.
In retrospect, it may, indeed, prove to be her constituents within Florida’s Fifth Congressional District that find themselves on the losing end.
For Brown, you see, was a fighter for all citizens, especially being known as one who fought for minorities, veterans, and those who could not fight for themselves.
“Throughout my 30-year political career, both in the Florida legislature and in Washington, I have always been recognized as a tenacious advocate for my constituents and for the State of Florida, and have brought back hundreds of millions of federal dollars to assist communities throughout the district and the state,” Brownsaid in a written statement.
Being “tenacious” has been something not new to her. After what was then her last loss – in 1980, when she looked to become a member of Florida’s House of Representatives – she won a seat in the Stage Legislature in 1982. Just 10 years later, she was elected to Congress – becoming the first African-American to be voted into Congress since our nation’s Reconstruction 117 years earlier.
Congresswoman Brown served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee since first joining Congress, and has been fighting for the benefits that veterans were promised. When she first went to Washington, to offset the limited space for veterans’ burials in Florida and around the country, Brown introduced legislation to establish new National Cemeteries in South Florida and in Jacksonville. She also introduced legislation to expand and improve the National Veteran’s Cemetery system. She championed legislation expanding the health and long-term care benefits that America’s veterans’ receive, improving veterans’ education benefits, and expediting claims processing.
Most recently, Brown secured a new Veterans’ Outpatient Clinic for Jacksonville. This facility consolidated most of the veterans’ services that had been scattered around the city into one facility. In addition, the Gainesville VA Medical Center was completed with an additional $51.5 million included at her request. Under her watch, Congress passed the largest budget in the history of the VA and also passed assured funding for the VA, which ensures that veterans’ healthcare is not subject to the political winds of Washington.
The Congresswoman also served as a conferee on the Veterans Access to Care Act, which provides new resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as new healthcare options for our veterans. During the conference, Brown worked closely with Senate Chairman Bernie Sanders to ensure the VA has final authority over the care that veterans receive, whether at the VA or at non-VA providers. And in Central Florida, she helped to ensure the Orlando VA Medical Center’s completion. “After over two decades of working strenuously on this project, today is a day to celebrate for our area veterans,” she said at the May 26, 2015 dedication ceremony of the brand-new facility.
Brown, a Democrat, will leave office in January. “It has been an honor serving the people,” she told the Florida Times-Union following her election defeat.