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Richard "Ric" Keller
R-Florida (8)

Election: Defeated Linda Chapin, D, to succeed Rep. Bill McCollum, R, who ran for Senate
Home: Orlando
Born: Sept. 5, 1964, Johnson City, Tenn.
Religion: Methodist
Family: Wife, Cathy; two children
Education: East Tennessee State U., B.S. 1986; Vanderbilt U., J.D. 1992
Career: Lawyer
Political Highlights: No previous office

Republicans seeking a return to the fiscal policies espoused by Ronald Reagan will find a reliable vote in Keller, who came from nowhere to keep McCollum's seat in GOP hands.

An Orlando lawyer, Keller had not previously held elective office, but he did help write two state constitutional amendments on cleaning up the Florida Everglades. One, the "Polluter Pays" amendment, which passed by a wide margin, said sugar companies should help finance restoration of the Everglades. Keller also has said he will fight to eliminate sugar subsidies, but he generally supports business priorities.

Keller has described himself as the ideological heir to McCollum, a 10-term representative. His goals include increasing funding for education Pell Grants and cutting federal taxes across the board. He opposes abortion and favors gun rights.

Keller's outsider image was boosted by his support for term limits. His fiscal conservatism was highlighted by the support he received from the Club for Growth, a Republican group that backs tax cuts.

He won the Republican nomination in October by staking out conservative positions on fiscal and social issues, but then edged toward the middle to attract moderates in the suburban district.

Keller has expressed interest in serving on the Judiciary committee and the Education and the Workforce committee, which match his legal training and interest in mentoring programs for students.

© 2000 Congressional Quarterly Inc.

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