Clarence William Nelson

Former Senator from Florida

Clarence William Nelson

Clarence William Nelson

Former Senator from Florida


Perhaps the two most defining events in Bill Nelson's life occurred in 1972 - he got married to Grace Cavert and was elected for the first time to public office. Today, over three decades later, he's earned a reputation as a principled family man, a staunch advocate for all Floridians and a moderate voice in the increasingly partisan world of national politics.

Florida's own Bill Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, after serving six years as a member of the Florida Cabinet. He currently serves on the Senate Commerce, Budget, Finance, Intelligence, and Aging committees and is recognized as the leading congressional expert on NASA.

As a member of the Senate's Commerce Committee, Nelson has taken on the cause of privacy by supporting measures to protect consumers from identity theft and working on legislation to stop unsolicited e-mails that plague individuals and businesses.

Other priorities Nelson has championed during his tenure in the Senate include: preventing oil drilling off Florida's coast; ensuring veterans and their spouses get the benefits they deserve and have access to quality health care; and, fighting for a meaningful Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors that allows the government to negotiate lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies. In the wake of the 2004 hurricane season, he worked to secure adequate federal relief for storm victims and reform the federal agency charged with assisting people after disasters.

Nelson's public service career began in 1972, with his election to the Florida Legislature. During his three terms, he helped enact the nation's first state law to protect consumers from computer fraud and advocated for responsible growth management laws.

Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1978, he served six terms representing Orlando and the Space Coast and became an early advocate for a balanced federal budget.

In January 1986, Nelson spent six days orbiting Earth as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Columbia. That experience gave him a new perspective on the Earth's fragile environment and a greater appreciation of the importance of our nation's space exploration program.

In 1994, Nelson was elected to the Florida Cabinet as state Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal. During his six years in the post, he earned his reputation as a common-sense problem solver and strong consumer advocate by fighting to keep insurance rates affordable for homeowners, cracking down on life and burial insurance sales abuses that targeted the elderly and minorities, and forcing European insurers to honor unpaid Holocaust-era claims.

A fifth-generation Floridian, Nelson was born in Miami on Sept. 29, 1942, and educated in Melbourne's public schools. He served his country as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1971, both on active duty and in the Reserve. He has been married to his wife, Grace, since 1972 and has two grown children, Nan Ellen and Bill Jr.

RelSci Relationships


Primary Location

Washington, DC, United States

Number of Boards



09/29/1942 - Miami, FL, United States



Number of Awards


RelSci Relationships are individuals Clarence William Nelson likely has professional access to. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection.

Executive Chairman at El Pomar Foundation

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Former President & Chief Executive Officer at The Aerospace Corporation

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Former Executive Vice President at Lockheed Martin Corporation

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Principal at American Energy Innovation Council

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Astrophysicist & Frederick P. Rose Director at Hayden Planetarium

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Founder & Managing Partner at Near Earth LLC

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Relationship likelihood: Strong

President at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Scientific Director of the Medical Informatics & Technology Applications Commercial Space Center at National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA)

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Sector Vice President & General Manager of Space Systems at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

Relationship likelihood: Strong

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Clarence William Nelson
Former Senator from Florida
Class of 1968

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants. Consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation, Virginia has educated generations of lawyers, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service. Virginia is justly famous for its collegial environment that bonds students and faculty, and student satisfaction is consistently cited as among the highest in American law schools. At Virginia, law students share their experiences in a cooperative spirit, both in and out of the classroom, and build a network that lasts well beyond their three years here. With more than 20,000 students and a faculty of more than 2,100, the University of Virginia has been ranked first or second among the nation's public universities since 1984. The University's diverse intellectual life is open to law students: Up to 12 credits from other departments may be counted toward the J.D. degree.

Class of 1965

Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

Class of 1960
Boards & Committees
Life Member, Board of Directors

Space Foundation is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization that advocates for all sectors of the global space industry through space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation vision is to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community.

Honorary Trustee


Member, Advisory Council

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

Political Donations Received
Awards & Honors
Admitted to the Florida Bar
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