College News

Former UW-Madison chancellor flips Florida district upon congressional seat win

Former UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala utilized her past resume along with advocacy for climate change policies to earn her a congressional seat in Florida.

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Former UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala won a seat in the southern Florida congressional election, after flipping the typically Republican-held House district Tuesday.

Shalala will represent the 27th District following her win over former broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. She follows in the footsteps of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who retired after decades in office.

The election proved to be an important race as Democrats achieved their goal of controlling the House of Representatives.

“I am not a rookie,” Shalala said. “I am going to hit the ground running. I ran on the future and on my resume. This is about the future for the kids and the opportunities in the future and pursuing the dream so kids will feel safe in school and teachers will be well paid.”

Locations where Democratic candidates do five percentage points better on average than Democrats nationwide are considered D+5. The 27th district, which includes affluent areas like Miami Beach and Coral Gables, is one of them.

Shalala served as the first female chancellor of a Big Ten university from 1988 to 1993. She later stepped down to become the secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration.

Her past experience combined with her passion for combating climate change laid the groundwork for her campaign and led to her succession.

“Mr. President, here we come,” she said during her victory speech. “Bringing us together is absolutely crucial. Some people would like to divide us. We just can’t let that happen, because it’s un-American.”

This is the first time she has run for office. She is one of the oldest freshman House members in history at the age of 77.

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