In 1982, then-Gov. Bob Graham, a Democrat, reached across party lines and appointed Goss to fill a vacancy on the Lee County commission. In 1988, Goss ran for Congress from an overwhelmingly Republican district and won with 71% of the vote. He has run unopposed in most races since then.
Largely unknown outside Congress, Goss developed a reputation for leadership on bipartisan issues. He generally won praise for leading a 1996 ethics investigation into charges of alleged improprieties by Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
As head of the House Intelligence Committee during the Sept. 11 attacks, Goss was among the congressional leaders evacuated to a secure facility. And once Goss agreed to White House pleas not to retire in 2002, as he had planned, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) arranged a waiver of House rules to permit Goss to retain the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee past the usual term limit.
Friends describe Goss as a plain-speaking, easygoing man who has friends on both sides of the aisle. Given the intensity of the intelligence debate, and the passions of the presidential election season, he most likely will need them in the confirmation hearings ahead.