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Programs >> Women's Leadership Initiatives >> Lindy Boggs Award >> Carrie Meek, 2007
Carrie Meek, 2007

 Congresswoman Carrie Meek, the first African-American elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction, has had successful careers as a public servant, college administrator and educator.

Retired from the United States Congress in 2003, Rep. Meek has dedicated her time and service to the Carrie Meek Foundation, a not for profit corporation founded by the Congresswoman. The foundation's mission statement speaks to "encouraging investment and partnerships in the diverse urban inner-city neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County, improving the overall quality of life, and building a stronger community."

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 from Florida's 17th Congressional District, she was a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which funds all executive branch programs and independent agencies. She served on the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government, and the Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and, Independent Agencies. She served five consecutive terms in the U.S. House from 1993 to 2003.

Rep. Meek has championed efforts to create new jobs through federal and private sector initiatives and she has worked hard to use the resources of government to promote economic opportunity.

As a new member of Congress, Congresswoman Meek introduced legislation-subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President to provide retirement security for household workers such as gardeners, nannies and cleaning personnel.

She played a key role in providing over one hundred million dollars in federal assistance to help rebuild Dade County after the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew, and guided through Congress legislation to improve Dade County's transit system, to include the airport and seaport; secured funds to construct a new family and child care center in North Dade; secured funds to rebuild Homestead Air Reserve Base; and funds for one of the nation's most advanced aviation training programs at Miami Dade Community College.

Rep. Meek is a strong advocate for senior citizens. She amended the bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to add nearly $200 million to the Section 202 elderly housing program. In addition, Rep. Meek emerged as a leader in Congressional efforts to ensure an accurate count in the 2000 Census - a matter of particular importance to minorities who are often undercounted. Rep. Meek sponsored a successful amendment to extend Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to aged, blind or handicapped legal aliens. Rep. Meek also championed efforts to gain amnesty for Haitians fleeing persecution from brutal dictatorships in their homeland, and legislation to establish demonstration programs at five colleges to develop best practices for effectively teaching college students with learning disabilities. She was also a leader in Congressional efforts to provide better treatment and care for Lupus sufferers and to broaden research efforts to study the disease.

Before her election to Congress, Rep. Meek was a member of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where she chaired the Education Appropriations Subcommittee and established herself as a skilled debater and one of the Legislature's most effective members.

As a Florida Senator, Meek developed much of Florida's current housing finance policy, establishing a broad array of public policy guidelines that has made the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands of families. Moreover, her legislative efforts have resulted in the construction of thousand of affordable rental units.

Born in Tallahassee, Florida -the granddaughter of a slave- Congresswoman Meek earned a B.A. in Biology and Physical Education from Florida A&M University, a Master's degree in Health and Physical Education from the University of Michigan and completed all of the course work for her Doctorate from Florida Atlantic University. She coached women's basketball at Bethune-Cookman College, taught biological sciences and physical education there and at Florida A&M University, and later served as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Miami-Dade Community College in Miami, Florida.

Rep. Meek was recently recognized by Congressional Quarterly Magazine as one of the 50 Most Effective Members of Congress. She has received dozens of awards and honors, including the recent naming of a one million dollar eminent scholars chair in her honor at Florida A&M University. She is the recipient of honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Miami, Florida A&M University, and Rollins College. She was honored by over 500 of Florida's business and community leaders as the recipient of the prestigious LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award "... for her lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life for Florida's Citizens and its future generations." The award was named for Governor LeRoy Collins, who set impeccable leadership standards during his own lifetime of service to the state. Rep Meek received the United Way's Public Policy Leadership Award, the group's highest honor.