Bill Nelson

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Bill Nelson
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Official Portrait (NHQ202105170001).jpg
Official portrait, 2021
14th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Assumed office
May 3, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
DeputyPamela Melroy
Preceded byJim Bridenstine
United States Senator
from Florida
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byConnie Mack III
Succeeded byRick Scott
Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byJohn Thune
Succeeded byMaria Cantwell
Chair of the Senate Aging Committee
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byHerb Kohl
Succeeded bySusan Collins
Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Fire Marshal of Florida
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
GovernorLawton Chiles
Buddy MacKay
Jeb Bush
Preceded byTom Gallagher
Succeeded byTom Gallagher
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byLouis Frey Jr. (9th)
Dan Mica (11th)
Succeeded byMichael Bilirakis (9th)
Jim Bacchus (11th)
Constituency9th district (1979–1983)
11th district (1983–1991)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 47th district
In office
November 21, 1972 – November 21, 1978
Preceded byRedistricted
Succeeded byTim Deratany
Personal details
Born
Clarence William Nelson II

(1942-09-29) September 29, 1942 (age 79)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Grace Cavert (m. 1972)
Children2
EducationUniversity of Florida
Yale University (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1965–1968, 1970–1971 (Reserve)
1968–1970 (Active)
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Bill Nelson, official NASA photo.jpg
Space career
NASA payload specialist
Time in space
6d 02h 03m
MissionsSTS-61-C
Mission insignia
STS-61-c-patch.png

Clarence William "Bill" Nelson II (born September 29, 1942)[1] is an American politician and astronaut. Nelson is the 14th and current Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since May 2021. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was the United States Senator from Florida from 2001 to 2019. He lost his re-election campaign in 2018 to Republican Governor Rick Scott.

He was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978 and in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991. In January 1986, he became the second sitting member of Congress to fly in space, after Jake Garn. He was a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Nelson retired from Congress in 1990 to run for Governor of Florida, but was lost the Democratic nomination to Lawton Chiles.

In March 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Nelson to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in his administration.[2]

Early life[change | change source]

Nelson was born in Miami, Florida. He was raised in Melbourne, Florida. Nelson studied at the University of Florida, Yale University and at the University of Virginia.

Early political career[change | change source]

Nelson began his career in the Florida House of Representatives, where he served from 1973 to 1979. He then served in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991.

In January 1986, Nelson became the second sitting member of the United States Congress to fly in space along with John Glenn. He flew as a Payload Specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

United States Senate[change | change source]

He served in the United States Senate, serving Florida from 2001 to 2019.

In the U.S. Senate, he was a centrist and a moderate Democrat.[3][4][5][6] Nelson supported same-sex marriage, lowering taxes on lower and middle income families, expanding environmental programs and regulation, protecting the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicaid.

Nelson chaired the Senate Aging Committee from 2013 to 2015, and was Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee from 2015 to 2019.

Nelson lost re-election in 2018 to Republican Rick Scott by 0.1%.[7]

Administrator to NASA[change | change source]

On February 22, 2021, reports emerged that President Joe Biden was considering nominating Nelson to be the NASA Administrator.[8] Biden officially nominated Nelson on March 19, 2021 to the position.[2]

His nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 29, 2021 by a unanimous voice vote.[9]

Personal life[change | change source]

In 1972, Nelson married Grace Cavert. The couple have two adult children: Charles William "Bill Jr." Nelson,[10] and Nan Ellen Nelson.[11] He has suffered from prostate cancer.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Florida Marriage Collection, 1822–1875 and 1927–2001". Ancestry.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davenport, Christian. "Biden expected to nominate former senator Bill Nelson to be NASA administrator". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  3. "Bill Nelson pitches long-held moderate message in tight U.S. Senate race". Tampabay.com. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  4. Sullivan, Erin. "U.S. Rep. Connie Mack takes on longtime Sen. Bill Nelson | News". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: Nelson works hard to be seen as moderate - tribunedigital-orlandosentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  7. "Republican Rick Scott wins Florida Senate race, defeating incumbent Bill Nelson". Vox. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  8. Speck, Emilee (February 22, 2021). "Report: President Biden considering former Sen. Bill Nelson to lead NASA". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  9. "Senate confirms ex-Sen. Nelson to NASA". The Hill. 29 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  10. Henry Pierson Curtis and April Hunt (November 9, 2006). "Senator's Son Arrested after Orlando Fracas". Orlando Sentinel.
  11. "Florida's senior senator praises Martinez, stays quiet about possible candidates in 2010". Archived 2009-12-02 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Senator Bill Nelson – Florida (official U.S. Senate website). Retrieved 2009-12-16.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Bill Nelson at Wikimedia Commons