House candidate Audrey Henson, founder of College to Congress, departs organization
Audrey Henson. Image via Facebook.

Audrey Henson
But it's unclear what prompted the split.

State House candidate Audrey Henson has parted company with College to Congress, a program she founded to financially assist congressional interns.

The organization no longer lists Henson on its “Leadership” or “Team” webpages. Additionally, the candidate’s campaign has started listing her as the former CEO of the nonprofit.

College to Campus provided a statement announcing Henson’s departure from the organization as of last fall.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and all of C2C, we thank Audrey for founding this organization and shining a light on the mission of systemically changing Congress by empowering diverse, inclusive, and effective public servants,” read the statement from Interim CEO Dennis Ross and Board of Directors Chair KayAnn Schoeneman.

“She’s played an integral role in the organization’s growth, establishing a comprehensive program that levels the playing field for Congressional interns. We wish her well and look forward to continuing College to Congress’s strong commitment to making Capitol Hill a more effective and inclusive place for generations of public servants.”

Henson’s campaign did not answer questions about what prompted the separation.

Now, there are hints the St. Petersburg Republican might challenge whether the group should retain its tax status.

“501c3 nonprofits that play politics should lose their nonprofit status,” Henson tweeted. It wasn’t immediately clear if this referenced potential legislation she intends to file in the Legislature or a swipe at the organization she founded six years ago.

As recently as July 9, the website still listed Henson as founder and CEO of College to Congress and featured a full biography detailing her path from Republican National Convention volunteer to congressional intern to nonprofit CEO. The group, the page states, was founded to cover the actual cost for unpaid interns coming from rural, low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Notably, Henson is still featured prominently on the “History” page for College to Congress’ website.

“Audrey Henson founded College to Congress in 2016 based on her own experience as a Capitol Hill intern and full-time staffer coming from a background on social welfare programs and as a Pell Grant recipient that worked two jobs and took out student loans just to intern in Congress,” the site states.

“Realizing the policy decisions made by staffers and their impact on underrepresented communities, she set out to create pathways in public service for those who came from similar backgrounds.”

Henson previously filed to run for Congress, seeking an open seat for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. But in June, she shifted her candidacy to run for the Legislature in House District 60. Henson won a Republican Primary for the seat in August. She faces Democrat Lindsay Cross in November.

Henson also owns the excavation company, By the Bay Bobcats.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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