Fla. Senate, House Democrats Elect New Leaders Without Vocal Opposition

Nov 17, 2014

Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa)(left) and Rep. Mark Pafford (right) during their Monday speeches.

On Monday, the Florida Senate easily elected Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) as its new Democratic leader.

She says her goals for the 2015 legislative session include working across the aisle with Republican leadership on water, education and prison reform. Still, she says there will be some partisan issues.

“It’s to be expected because we’re the loyal minority, and we’re going to fight for our people,” said Joyner. “I mean, it’s only natural that ideologically wise we’re on different points on some of the issues.”

Meanwhile, it’s the other chamber that almost had a contentious fight Monday in electing its new minority leader.

Because House Democrats lost several seats to Republicans during the mid-term election, Rep. Dwayne Taylor (D-Daytona Beach) originally stated he’d challenge Rep. Mark Pafford (D-Palm Beach) for what was supposed to be a routine leadership election. But, earlier Monday, he announced he’d be backing out of the leadership race.

“I think it’s resolved,” said the now former House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston. “I’m glad that it’s resolved. Smarter heads have prevailed.”

Speaking to the News Service of Florida Monday, Taylor said he changed his mind because he didn’t see “a way he could work with the Florida Democratic Party.” Recently, Party Chair Allison Tant called the Florida House Democrats who were backing Taylor “bed-wetters” who “need to shut up.”

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report for more on this story!

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.