Steve Southerland (Florida politician)

Steve Southerland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2011  January 3, 2015
Preceded by Allen Boyd
Succeeded by Gwen Graham
Personal details
Born William Steve Southerland, II
(1965-10-10) October 10, 1965
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Southerland
Children four
Residence Panama City, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater Jefferson State Community College A.A.
Troy State University B.S.
Profession Businessman, Mortician
Religion Southern Baptist
Website Southerland For Congress

William Steve Southerland, II[1] (born October 10, 1965) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who served as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 2nd congressional district from 2011 to 2015. The district includes most of the eastern Florida Panhandle, from Panama City to the state capital, Tallahassee. He was narrowly defeated for re-election in 2014, one of only two incumbent House Republicans to lose their seat in the general election that year, the other being Lee Terry of Nebraska.[2]

Early life and education

Southerland was born on October 10, 1965 in Nashville, Tennessee.[3][4] He is a lifelong resident of Panama City. He is the fourth generation of five in his family to live in Bay County. In 1983, he graduated from A. Crawford Mosley High School. He earned a B.S. degree in Business Management from Troy State University and an A.A. degree in Mortuary Science from Jefferson State Junior College.[5]

Business career

Southerland is co-owner/president of Southerland Family Funeral Homes, founded in 1955.[6] He is also a founding partner in two other businesses: Genesis Granite & Stone, LLC and K & B Land and Timber Company, LLC. Florida's governor appointed him as chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida[7] and to the Florida Board of Funeral Directors,[8] where he served as chairman in his second term.

U.S. House of Representatives



Southerland won the Republican primary against Eddie Hendry, Ron McNeil, Barbara F. Olschner and David Scholl.[9] He was part of the GOP Young Gun Program.[10][11] He was endorsed by U.S. Congressmen Eric Cantor, Jeff Miller, former State House Speaker Allan Bense, former Democratic Governor Wayne Mixson, State Rep. Jimmy Patronis, State Rep. Marti Coley, former U.S. Congressman Bill Grant, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Lynn Haven Mayor, Walter Kelley.[12] It was Southerland's first bid for elected office.

Southerland faced seven-term Democratic incumbent Allen Boyd in the November general election. Independent candidates Paul C. McKain and Dianne Berryhill were also on the ballot, and Ray Netherwood had qualified as a write-in candidate.

Real Clear Politics rated this race a "Leans GOP".[13] CQ Politics rated the election as a toss up.[14]

In the November 2 general election, Southerland defeated Boyd with 52 percent of the vote. Southerland is the first freshman Republican to represent the 2nd since its formation in 1963 (it was the 9th District from 1963–1967 and has been the 2nd since 1967).[15] The only other Republican to ever represent this district, Bill Grant, was originally elected as a Democrat in 1986, but switched parties midway through his second term.


Southerland defeated former State Senator Alfred Lawson, Jr. 53% 175,856 votes to 47% 157,634 out of 333,718 ballots cast on November 6, 2012 for his re-election to a second term in Congress.


Southerland ran for re-election. He ran unopposed for the Republican nomination in the primary,[16] and faced Gwen Graham in the general election on November 4, 2014. Southerland lost the election, receiving 49.56% of the vote to Graham's 50.44%.[17]


Southerland opposes military intervention in Syria.[18]

He voted for the Amash-Conyers Amendment, which would prohibit the collection of records by the National Security Agency under the Patriot Act.[19]

He voted against the 2014 Farm Bill, a $1 trillion bill which expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[20]

Southerland has stated that he wants to replace the Affordable Care Act “with an approach that incorporates free-market principles. The article cited states: "Southerland prefers a system that would give consumers greater access to health savings accounts and force greater competition on insurance providers while retaining the Obamacare provision that prohibits insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. He voiced support for tort reform to help prevent frivolous lawsuits against doctors." ”[21]

On July 11, 2014, Southerland introduced the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5078; 113th Congress), a bill that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from implementing or enforcing certain proposed regulations regarding the use of the nation’s waters and wetlands.[22][23]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Steve and Susan Southerland have four children. He is a member of Northstar Church, a nondenominational church in Panama City.[24]

Southerland served as Chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board as well as such community boards including the Florida State University Panama City Development Board and the Covenant Hospice Foundation Board.[25] He is a member of the National Rifle Association and founding member and former Vice President of the Bay Patriots.[25]


  1. Genealogy site for Southerland family
  3. "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). CQ Roll Call. November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
  6. "Product Showroom". Southerland Family Funeral Homes and Crematory. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  7. "Education". House of Representatives. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  8. "Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.)". Roll Call. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  9. Blake, Aaron (October 30, 2009). "Second GOPer signs up to face Rep. Boyd - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room". Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  10. CQ politics blogsite
  11. "NRCC Expands Lower Tiers in 'Young Guns'". Roll Call. July 21, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  12. Southerland For
  13. "Florida 2nd District - Southerland vs. Boyd". Real Clear Politics. October 28, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  14. CQPolitics
  15. Bojorquez, Manuel (September 4, 2013). "Fla. congressman hears it from constituents about Syria". CBS News. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  16. "2014 Florida House Primaries Results". Politico. August 28, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  17. "Florida Department of State - Division of Elections". Retrieved 11/5/2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  18. McLaughlin, Tom (September 3, 2013). "Miller, Southerland Voice Their Opinions on Syria". NWFDaily News. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  19. "Amash amendment: the full roll call". The Guardian. July 24, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  20. Rogers, Alex (June 21, 2013). "How Food Stamps Killed the Farm Bill". Time. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  21. Olwell, Chris (August 20, 2014). "Medical group endorses Southerland". News Herald. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  22. "CBO - H.R. 5078". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  23. "H.R. 5078 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  24. Staff (5 January 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps.". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  25. 1 2 Southerland For Congress
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Allen Boyd
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 2011 January 3, 2015
Succeeded by
Gwen Graham
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