As a fifth-generation Floridian, Bill’s roots run deep in Florida. Bill grew up near where he would one day launch into space as a crew member on the Space Shuttle Columbia; an experience that would forever change his perspective and outlook on public service.
Bill’s father died when he was 14. As an only child, Bill immediately shouldered extra responsibility to ensure he and his mother would get by. That drive, commitment, and sense of responsibility for others transformed into a life devoted to public service. From president of 4-H to president of the Key Club in high school, Bill has always known the importance of investing in your neighbors and community to create a better future.
Bill continued to serve his community and country while in college at the University of Florida, Yale, and University of Virginia Law School through various service organizations, school leadership positions, and enlisting in the Army.
In 1971, Bill met Grace Cavert of Jacksonville, Florida, while speaking at a statewide young leader convention. Grace has been an active partner in Bill’s public service career. From his first race for a seat in the Florida Legislature, Grace has been by his side knocking on doors and talking to folks about issues that mattered to them and their families. They have two grown children, Bill Jr. and Nan Ellen.
Read more about Senator Nelson’s accomplishments in the Senate & his campaign here.