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Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson.jpg
United States Senator
from Florida
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2019
Preceded by Connie Mack III
Succeeded by Rick Scott
Ranking Member of the
Senate Commerce Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2019
Preceded by John Thune
Succeeded by Maria Cantwell
Chair of the Senate Aging Committee
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Herb Kohl
Succeeded by Susan Collins
Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Fire Marshal of Florida
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Governor Lawton Chiles
Buddy MacKay
Jeb Bush
Preceded by Tom Gallagher
Succeeded by Tom Gallagher
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Louis Frey Jr. (9th)
Dan Mica (11th)
Succeeded by Michael Bilirakis (9th)
Jim Bacchus (11th)
Constituency 9th district (1979–1983)
11th district (1983–1991)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 47th district
In office
November 7, 1972 – November 7, 1978
Preceded by Redistricted
Succeeded by Tim Deratany
Personal details
Clarence William Nelson II

(1942-09-29) September 29, 1942 (age 79)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Grace Cavert (m. 1972)
Children 2
Education University of Florida
Yale University (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1965–1968, 1970–1971 (Reserve)
1968–1970 (Active)
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Bill Nelson, official NASA photo.jpg
Space career
NASA payload specialist
Time in space
6d 02h 03m
Missions STS-61-C
Mission insignia

Clarence William "Bill" Nelson II (born September 29, 1942) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He was the United States Senator from Florida from 2001 to 2019.

Early life

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.


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.

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

Nelson lost re-election in 2018 to Republican Rick Scott by 0.1%

Personal life

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

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