Robert Wexler: Wikis


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Robert Wexler

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2010
Preceded by Harry Johnston

Born January 2, 1961 (1961-01-02) (age 49)
Queens, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Laurie Wexler
Children Rachel Wexler
Zachary Wexler
Hannah Wexler
Residence Delray Beach, Florida
Alma mater George Washington University Law School (J.D.)
University of Florida (B.A.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Judaism

Robert Wexler (born January 2, 1961) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. He served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2010, representing Florida's 19th congressional district.[1] The district includes parts of Palm Beach County, as well as northern Broward County.

Wexler resigned from Congress effective the evening of January 3, 2010, to become president of the Washington-based Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.[2]


Early life

Wexler was born in Queens, New York to Sonny and Sandra Wexler. He and his family moved to South Florida when he was ten. Wexler graduated from Hollywood Hills High School in Hollywood, Florida and later attended Emory University for a year. He transferred to the University of Florida, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1982. Wexler received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1985 and was a lawyer in private practice with Shutts & Bowen before serving in the House.

Political career

Wexler served in the Florida Senate from 1990 to 1996 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1996 election, filling the open seat vacated by fellow Democrat Harry Johnston. He has been reelected five times, never facing serious opposition in one of the most Democratic districts in Florida. During the 2008 campaign, Wexler agreed to receive JStreetPAC’s endorsement and financial support and lost funding from Washington PAC as a result. Morris Amitay, the head of Washington PAC, made clear to candidates seeking support from his PAC that he does not view favorably those who receive funds from JStreet. Amitay said “There’s a striking resemblance between the people they support and the anti-Israel Hall of Fame,” [3]

Rep. Robert Wexler

Wexler announces support for impeachment hearings

In an e-mail to supporters on November 7, 2007, Representative Robert Wexler, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated about H.R. 333:

I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office.[1]

In mid December 2007, Congressman Wexler launched a website ( to promote his effort for impeachment hearings. The site included a You Tube video where he explained his position and a petition for like-minded people to sign. Wexler set a goal of getting 50,000 Americans to join his cause. In just two weeks, over 200,000 people signed the petition and over 70,000 people watched his You Tube video.

Call for McClellan testimony

After the release of the controversial book What Happened by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Wexler went on record as saying he would like McClellan to testify under oath about the alleged crimes of the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration has claimed that such proceedings would be a violation of executive privilege. At the time, Wexler was a member of the House Judiciary Committee.[4] The testimony was offered on June 20 by former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan.[5]

2008 presidential election

On March 2, 2007, Congressman Wexler endorsed Barack Obama as a candidate for the 2008 Presidential election. On May 31, 2008, he spoke at the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting on behalf of the Obama campaign. He argued for a reinstatement of both pledged and superdelegates from the state of Florida to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, with both exercising a half vote at the Convention. He called this an "equitable solution", allowing Florida to participate in the Democratic Party's nominating process, and acknowledged that this would result in a net gain of nineteen delegates from Florida for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was Barack Obama's chief opponent in the nominating process.

Articles of impeachment

On June 10, 2008 Wexler co-sponsored and signed Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment for George W. Bush. He referred to the Congressional Oath of Office saying it was the duty of Congress to act, and stated: "President Bush deliberately created a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people and the charges detailed in this impeachment resolution indicate an unprecedented abuse of executive power."[6] Democratic leaders Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi have opposed these efforts. Pelosi announced that she "would not support a resolution calling for Bush's impeachment, saying such a move was unlikely to succeed and would be divisive.”

Residency dispute

In July 2008, Fox news host Bill O'Reilly revealed that Wexler claims his mother-in-law's home in Delray Beach as his official residence (though he is listed on the House roll as "D-Boca Raton"), but lives in a Maryland suburb for most of the year. Edward J. Lynch, a Republican running for Wexler's congressional seat, has been researching Wexler's living arrangements and took his argument to the Fox News program. "The house he lists on his voter registration is his in-laws' house, in a gated 55-and-older community," Lynch said. "Legally, he can't move back with children under 18." After Wexler was confronted about the allegation, he stated that his mother-in-law does own the house in Delray Beach. But he also said he stays there when in Florida which, according to his office is, on average, about twice a month. As a Florida resident, Wexler does not pay personal income tax, and his vehicles are also registered in that state, despite his near-permanent residency in the Washington metropolitan area.[7]. This situation is very similar to that of Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who claims an apartment near Trenton as his official residence while living in Northern Virginia for most of the year.[8]

Wexler, born in 1961, also does not personally meet the age requirements for his mother-in-law's 55-and-older community. However, 55-and-older communities are required, both by Florida law, and federal equal housing laws, to permit a small percentage of younger residents. Wexler has since obtained a separate address within Palm Beach County.

"Congressman Wexler moved to Florida when he was 10 years old and he has continually met Florida's residency requirements ever since," spokesman Josh Rogin wrote in an e-mail. "As members of Congress have since the founding of the nation, he also keeps a home in the Washington area so his wife and three children can be with him while he serves in Congress."

Election results

Wexler ran unopposed in the 1998, 2004, and the 2006 elections.

From the 1996 election:

Beverly Kennedy Robert Wexler
Party Republican Democratic
Subtotal 99,073 188,745
Absentee ballots 0 0
Totals 99,073 188,745
Percentage 34.4% 65.6%

From the 2000 election:

Morris Thompson Robert Wexler
Party Republican Democratic
Subtotal 67,782 171,068
Absentee ballots 7 12
Totals 67,789 171,080
Percentage 28.4% 71.6%

From the 2002 election:

Jack Merkl Robert Wexler
Party Republican Democratic
Total 60,477 156,747
Percentage 27.8% 72.2%

Wexler faced Lynch and independent candidate Ben Graber in the Nov. 4, 2008 election, defeating them both.[9]

From the 2008 election:

Edward Lynch Robert Wexler Ben Graber
Party Republican Democratic NPA
Total 83,357 202,465 20,214
Percentage 27.2% 66.2% 6.6%


Committee assignments and caucus memberships

Caucus memberships

The following is a partial list of Wexler's congressional caucus memberships:

  • Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations (co-founder)
  • Taiwan Caucus (co-founder)
  • Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention (co-founder/co-chairman)
  • Indonesia Caucus (co-founder/co-chairman)
  • Congressional Study Group on Turkey (co-chair)
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • India Caucus
  • Serbia Caucus

Notable media appearances

Colbert Report interview

Congressman Wexler's multiple appearances on The Colbert Report have elevated him to status of being a bona fide "friend of the show." On the July 20, 2006 episode, during an interview for the segment Better Know a District, Wexler went along with Stephen Colbert's idea of making jokes about the use of cocaine. Led by Stephen Colbert, he first repeated what Colbert had said, then completed with the following statements (see video):

I enjoy cocaine because... it's a fun thing to do.

I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons: ...oh, because it's a fun thing to do. Much like cocaine. If you combine the two together, it's probably even more fun.

Good Morning America and The Today Show, the ABC and NBC morning shows, aired edited versions of the segment. In response, on the July 25, 2006 episode of his show, Colbert castigated those network's morning shows for broadcasting edited versions of the interview in a misleading and negative light. He also told his viewers to "vote Wexler, the man's got a sense of humor, unlike, evidently, journalists."

On November 7, 2006, Wexler returned to the The Colbert Report during the show's "Midterm Midtacular" special and joked about what he said in the earlier interview. When Colbert asked him if he would "reach around the aisle" if the Democrats took back the House; a maxim used here as a double entendre (video clip), Wexler picked up on the double entendre and joked that he learned from the last interview he had to watch what he said.

The Hill

In August and September 2006, Wexler and his office staff were featured on The Hill, a six-part documentary on the Sundance Channel.[11]


Wexler is married to the former Laurie Cohen. They have three children Rachel, Zachary, and Hannah.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harry Johnston
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th congressional district

Succeeded by


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