The Florida Democratic Party is going to be run out of The Senator Bill Nelson Florida Democratic Party Headquarters from now on.
Wednesday, the party formally named its state office for the rancher, lawyer, Army officer, NASA payload specialist and Democrat who served in elected office for more than 40 years through January 2019 and who effectively was the face, voice and conscience of the party as he served the final 18 years as Florida’s U.S. Senator.
More than 50 people gathered Wednesday for a ceremony naming the party headquarters for Nelson. He was joined by his wife of 47 years, Grace, along with dozens of state lawmakers, Leon County and Tallahassee officials and state party officials.
“It is an honor to have the Florida Democratic Party Headquarters named for me in recognition of over four decades of public service. I believe that government service is a high calling,” Nelson said. “I am grateful to the party for this tribute.”
The office is in the heart of Tallahassee in the Historic Exchange Bank Building, which was originally built in 1927. Known for its limestone trim and unique terracotta wall ornamentation in neo-Egyptian and Greek design, it was one of the first modern private office buildings in Tallahassee and one of the few downtown buildings to maintain its architectural integrity. The Democrats moved in last August.
“We are proud to name our headquarters for Sen. Nelson,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo. “He has done so much to improve people’s lives and the naming ceremony is an honor to his lifetime of public service and his continued commitment to supporting Democrats and causes which lift up our shared values.”
Nelson retired after being defeated by Republican Sen. Rick Scott in the closest U.S. Senate vote in state history in 2018. Among his career highlights were six years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, leaving as a captain; six years in the Florida House of Representatives starting in 1972; 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives starting in 1979; six years as Florida Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Fire Marshal, starting in 1995; and 18 years in the U.S. Senate, starting in 2001. He also flew into space as a NASA payload specialist on Space Shuttle Columbia’s STS-61-C mission in January 1986.