Florida House of Representatives District 56
Florida’s House District 56 encompasses parts of Hillsborough and Polk counties, including areas such as Lakeland, Mulberry, and Plant City. The district has been represented by Republicans for over two decades and leans solidly conservative.
Recent Election Results
In 2022, Brad Yeager (R) won the open seat after four-term incumbent Melony Bell (R) was term-limited out. Yeager defeated primary challengers and faced no Democratic opponent in November.
Origins and Evolution
District 56 was created in the 1990s during a redistricting process to equalize population among state legislative districts. It originally included a different configuration of Polk and Hillsborough counties.
Changes After Recent Censuses
Boundary lines were redrawn after both the 2010 and 2020 censuses to account for population shifts. Currently, the district extends further into Hillsborough County to encompass fast-growing suburbs.
The population centers of District 56 include Lakeland, Plant City, and rural areas near Mulberry in Polk County.
Race and Ethnicity
The district has a predominantly white population, with Hispanics representing the largest minority group.
District 56 has a slightly older population compared to Florida overall. Residents under 18 make up 20% of the population versus 21% statewide.
The economy is driven by agriculture, particularly citrus and livestock. Manufacturing and logistics centers provide jobs. Median household income is below the state average.
As of 2022, registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats by nearly a 2-1 margin in District 56. Only 22% of voters were registered with neither major party.
District 56 has a Cook PVI of R+13, meaning it votes solidly Republican. Donald Trump carried the district by over 20 points in 2020.
Conservative values, gun rights, low taxes, and immigration policy are priorities for many District 56 voters. Education funding is also a concern.
Ben Albritton previously held the seat for eight years before retiring in 2022. He chaired the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.
Accomplishments and Initiatives
Past legislation supported by District 56 representatives includes bills related to land and water conservation, agriculture industry protections, and Second Amendment rights.
The district has been in Republican hands since the mid-1990s. Democrats last won the seat in 1992.
The solidly conservative lean of District 56 means Republicans will likely maintain control barring major demographic changes.
District 56 encompasses a largely suburban and rural conservative region where agriculture plays an important economic role. The seat has been reliably Republican for decades. Brad Yeager will likely continue his predecessor’s conservative agenda. But population growth may impact the district’s politics over time.
What counties make up District 56?
District 56 includes parts of Hillsborough County and Polk County in central Florida. The two largest cities are Lakeland and Plant City.
Who was the previous representative before Brad Yeager?
Melony Bell held the seat for four terms from 2016 to 2022. She reached the state’s term limit, leaving an open seat in 2022.
When will District 56 be up for election again?
Since state representatives serve 2-year terms, District 56 will be up for election again in November 2024.
How long has District 56 been under Republican control?
Republicans have held the seat for most of the time since 1994. The last Democratic representative was elected in 1992.
What is the demographic makeup of District 56?
The district has a predominantly white population with Hispanics representing the largest minority group at around 20% of residents. The population skews slightly older than Florida overall.