Florida Senate Democrats last week selected Jacksonville’s Audrey Gibson as their leader for the next two legislative sessions. The incoming Democratic leader said she hopes to be a bridge builder.
Florida’s new house speaker and senate president are Republicans, as are the majority of state lawmakers and the governor-elect.
New Minority Leader Gibson said there is room for bipartisanship in the Senate.
“In our chamber, I believe that there is still resolve to make sure that every senator gets heard and that we try to come to a consensus where we can,” she said.
Gibson said she has established a great rapport over the years with incoming Senate President Bill Galvano as they served together in the House and Senate. She said he listens and, in most instances, tries to be accommodating.
“I want to make sure all voices are raised - and that is all voices within a very diverse state. I believe our caucus uniquely is extremely diverse and all voices are well represented in that caucus,” Gibson said. “I want to make sure that they all get heard.”
Gibson said some of her priorities include raising teacher salaries, transportation and economic development, along with expanding access to healthcare.
Republicans hold 23 of Florida’s 40 Senate seats.
Gibson has represented Florida’s 6th district, which covers parts of the urban core and west sides of Jacksonville, since 2016.
She will be among the guests on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect, which airs at 9 a.m. on 89.9 FM and wjct.org.