In April, U.S. Rep. Graham, 53, announced she would not seek a second term in the 2nd Congressional District, but she is considering a run for governor in 2018. In a YouTube video, Graham explained her decision was in large part based on her frustration over the 2015 court-ordered restructuring of the congressional map. She said that it turned her district in the eastern Florida Panhandle, "what was an example of a fair district, into two partisan districts."
Graham is the daughter of former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. She holds a law degree from American University's Washington College of Law and is the former division director for professional standards and chief of labor and employee relations for Leon County schools.
What's on your nightstand?
Honestly, it's a congressional briefing book for a Mother's Day trip to Afghanistan. I just came back from Afghanistan. I've also got Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things. This is historical fiction. It's about a woman who is a botanist.
What was your takeaway from the information?
It's an incredible binder that includes information on women's issues. I crave information, and I wanted to have as much background as possible. It is profound. In Afghanistan, women have to hide what they are doing. A lot of the articles are about the tragedies that have occurred, about women who have been killed for pursuing education or a job, for example. However, the good news is that we are making some progress. This legacy trip was in its 10th year. It's only women in Congress who go. Can you imagine being overseas, being away from your children on Mother's Day, putting your life at risk? We met with women soldiers from our armed forces, women members from the Afghan Armed Forces, Afghan police officers, and it was also a great honor to visit with the first lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani. She is a positive advocate for women.
Did you pick up Gilbert's book because of an interest in botany?
I seem to pick up books that are historical in nature, and this is. She certainly does her research.
Are there authors you encourage Florida residents to read?
I think of A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. I think that's a phenomenal book. I love animals, and so I encourage you to read The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It is a beautiful book. I love Carl Hiaasen. I loved (a recent) column. I actually sent it to my team. It was a road map we need to use to make better decisions. He is excellent both in his journalism and his novels.
Contact Piper Castillo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Florida_PBJC.