Ray is a fifth generation Floridian whose family came to Florida from the Carolinas shortly after the Civil War. Born in Leesburg in 1953, Ray grew up in the small town of Vero Beach when there were still small towns on the east coast of Florida. He has lived in the Tallahassee area since moving there in 1971 to attend FSU, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology. Currently he resides in the small town of Havana, technically in Florida, but referred to by locals as a “Georgia landslide.” Ray has 2 children, Nathan, 26, and Meaghan, 24.
Ray has served as the Conservation and Water Policy Federal Programs Coordinator for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services since joining the Department in 2001. His first responsibility was working on the 2002 Farm Bill and continues to be involved with USDA conservation programs. He works closely with USDA NRCS to provide overall coordination of farm conservation programs in the state, and advocates policies and programs to benefit Florida farmers at the state and federal level. In addition, he serves as federal liaison on Everglades issues, representing the Department on the Water Resources Advisory Commission and the South Florida Restoration Working Group. Prior to joining the Department, Ray spent eight years with the Florida House of Representatives, working on natural resources issues. During that time he also served as Executive Director for the Joint Legislative Committee on Everglades Oversight.