Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is the son of longtime Florida Republican lawmaker Don Gaetz and Vicky Gaetz. His sister, Erin Gaetz, is a Republican operative who worked on former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Gaetz, 36, is unmarried. He grew up in Fort Walton Beach in Florida and attended Florida State University before earning his law degree at The College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Gaetz has represented Florida’s 1st district since 2017. He previously served in Florida’s House of Representatives between 2010 and 2016.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Matt Gaetz’s Father Don Gaetz Was a Top Republican Lawmaker
Gaetz’s father Don Gaetz served as a Republican in the Florida state Senate from 2006 to 2016.
He also served as the President of the Florida Senate from 2012 to 2014.
Matt Gaetz comes from a long line of politicians. His grandfather was a mayor and served as a state senator in North Dakota, The Washington Post reported.
When Gaetz served in the state House from 2010 to 2016, he and his father were in office simultaneously and lived as roommates in Tallahassee, The Post reported.
2. Matt Gaetz’s Mother Vicky Gaetz is Confined to a Wheelchair
Matt Gaetz’s mother Vicky suffered serious complications during her pregnancy with Gaetz’s sister Erin.
Vicky was advised to terminate her pregnancy but chose not to.
Vicky remains in a wheelchair to this day, The Post reported, adding that her experience is why Matt Gaetz says he opposes abortion being legal.
A 2015 bill increasing protections for racing greyhounds was named the “Victoria Q. Gaetz Racing Greyhound Protection Act,” because of her support for animal rights before her husband finished his two-year term as the Senate president, CBS Miami reported.
3. Matt Gaetz’s Sister Erin Gaetz Worked for Jeb Bush’s Presidential Campaign
Gaetz’s sister Erin, 33, worked as the director of digital content for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign, Florida Politics reported.
In 2016, Erin launched her own digital content firm, Southpaw.
Erin has worked for her brother’s campaign as well as Republican Florida Reps. Neal Dunn and Daniel Webster.
4. Matt Gaetz’s Family Lived in The Same House as Jim Carrey in ‘The Truman Show’
Gaetz’s family moved from southern Florida to the Panhandle when Matt was 10. The family settled in the home that would later become Jim Carrey’s in the 1998 film “The Truman Show,” The Washington Post reported.
There, Matt Gaetz was “an imposing and memorable presence on the debate team at Niceville High School,” The Post reported.
Gaetz’s official biography notes that he is a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association and is a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach.
5. Matt Gaetz Draws a Lot of Comparisons to His Father
Gaetz drew many comparisons to his father from Florida politicos in a Washington Post profile published last year.
“We call them Papa Gaetz and Baby Gaetz,” Evalyn Narramore, who chairs the Democratic Party of Escambia County, told The Post. “Even amongst Republican circles, Matt’s not super popular. He only won his primary by about 35 or 36 percent of the vote, and he had six Republican opponents. He just got in there, and of course now he’s trying to out-Trump Trump.”
“They are workers,” real estate developer and Gaetz family friend Collier Merrill told the outlet. “Even when Don didn’t have an opponent, he was walking every day to knock on doors. He rose pretty fast, into Senate president. That trickled down to Matt now. All of a sudden he’s rising quickly in the ranks.”