There is sure to be a familiar name on the ballot for FAMU students. The namesake of FAMU’s Multipurpose Center, Congressman Alfred Lawson Jr., is a name familiar to anyone who has stepped foot on FAMU’s campus.
Lawson left FAMU in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree. Following a long and distinguished career in the Legislature, Lawson was elected in 2016 to the House of Representatives, where he oversees the 200-mile Congressional District 5 test hat encompasses the farming and logging communities that join the North Florida cities of Jacksonville and Tallahassee. The results of the primary election saw incumbent Lawson advance to the general election to now face off against Republican nominee Gary Adler.
“My work ethic, problem-solving approach, and ability to build collaborative working relationships, regardless of political party, has served me well in Florida and Washington,” Lawson said.
Lawson is a businessman and an active member of the Tallahassee community. He leaves a continuing trail of achievements in every facet of service he has taken part in. During his time at FAMU, he played basketball, and he was later inducted into the university’s sports Hall of Fame. After marrying his college sweetheart, Delores Brooks, the two are now proud grandparents of four.
Lawson has developed an impressive and nationally recognized resume over the course of the 28 years he has served his home state of Florida. Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Lawson served in the Florida Senate from 2002-2010.
His accomplishments include passing the Rosewood legislation, which administered reparations to survivors of Florida’s Rosewood massacre. And as chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee, he passed Preservation 2000, which according to generated the largest state funded land acquisition program in the country.
Since 2017, Lawson has been tasked with balancing the needs of the cities and rural communities of the eight counties that stretch across Florida’s northern border. In the countryside, Lawson’s constituents’ needs consist of combatting hunger and creating jobs. When it comes to the other side of District 5, he has promised Jacksonville voters to deepen the St. Johns River and expand public transportation.
Jacksonville seems pleased with Lawson’s service, if the results of the primary elections are any indicator. Lawson won 75 percent of the vote in Leon and Gadsden counties and beat out Albert Chester, a former FAMU quarterback, by less than 3,000 votes. And for the first time in his three elections he won Jacksonville’s majority.
“I’m very grateful for that … My message resonated with the people there and I had a record of accomplishments,” Lawson said.
Other highlights of Lawson’s service in his past terms include fighting to reduce student loan debt, making health care more available, ensuring equal pay for women, gun reform and addressing racial injustices.
In June, Lawson addressed the need for accountability for police brutality by cosponsoring the Justice in Policing Act and sponsored the FUTURE Act that provides $255 million in funding to HBCUs like FAMU.
Attorney Benjamin Crump is another on the long list of names in support of Lawson.
“I’ve known Al for many years, and I know he stands on the right side of justice, He has been on the frontlines with me − from Martin Lee Anderson to Trayvon Martin and Markeis McGlockton − and I know he is fighting to deliver true justice reform that our community can depend on,” Crump said.
Lawson plans to continue fighting for economic relief for his constituents. In an Op-Ed published in Tallahassee Democrat, Lawson wrote, “Simply put, Congress needs to pass another COVID-19 relief bill now. The House is ready to act, but the Senate has repeatedly slammed the door on the American people.”
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