By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

ST. PETERSBURG — A quick glance at former Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s professional record and one would guess he’d hold fiscally conservative sympathies.

As a former private-sector economist and telecommunications executive, Grayson made millions of dollars providing goods and services and creating jobs, accumulating a level of wealth which ranked him as the 11th richest member of Congress in 2010, according to Roll Call.

He voted against two different debt ceiling increases during his first few months in Congress, voicing concerns over rampant federal spending.

“We need to live within our means. We need to eliminate wasteful spending. If we did those two simple things, we would not need to raise the debt limit,” Graysonwrote in a statement in 2010.

Unlike his record would suggest, Grayson became known as a progressive firebrand, making his reputation by disparaging his Republican opponents’ views on health care and Social Security and arguing for an increased role of government into the lives of citizens.

And that’s what he’ll run on in his quest to represent Florida’s District 9, a newly configured district with a population of almost 40 percent Hispanic voters.

Grayson was elected to represent central Florida’s 8th District in 2008, but lost his re-election bid in 2010 to former Republican state Rep. Daniel Webster, by a margin of more than 18 percentage points.

In recent media reports and public debates, Grayson has used his particular style to attack those who oppose the largest one-time tax increase in recent memory, the “fiscal cliff” brought on by the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans and $50 billion in military sequestration cuts at the end of this year.

Grayson was quick to share his thoughts to his nearly 46,000 fans on Facebook.

“The fiscal cliff is the Orwellian propaganda term that refers to spending cuts and tax increases that automatically come into effect at the end of this year,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Sept. 12, later chiding those opposed to repealing the “Bush tax cuts for the rich.”

When questioned by an audience member at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida debate on Sept. 17 in Orlando, Grayson seemed hesitant to give any specific examples on just how much a taxpayer should be required to pay each year to the government in taxes.

“I can’t give you a number because it’s a concept, not a number. The answer is that it should be high enough to balance the budget when the economy is healthy,” said Grayson. “But I see no reason why it should be 75 percent.”

Read more: Florida Watchdog