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Senate And House Get Reorganized

For months, Senator Don Gaetz and Representative Will Weatherford have been called the designated Senate President and House Speaker respectively. But as of Tuesday, the term “designate” has been removed and the Speaker and President titles are official.

Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville, got a nomination from Democratic Senator Bill Montford from Tallahassee. Montford said he knows it’s unusual to nominate a Senate president from another party, but says, putting politics aside, Gaetz will make a good leader.

Senator Gaetz will lead with a keen sense of justice, an astute understanding of the challenges at hand and a conviction that policies benefitting the state of Florida, should and will always come before politics,” Montford said.

Senator Nancy Detert, a Republican from Venice, also gave Gaetz her backing, saying he’s got the right mix of life experiences to make an empathetic and strong leader.

“With Don’s educational background, I think he will agree with my analysis that Florida is like a gifted child that has not reached its full potential. And I think with Don’s innate vision and optimism, he will agree with Lady Gaga, who when she talks about being on the edge of glory is taking about Florida,” Detert said.

Meanwhile, in the Florida House, Speaker Will Weatherford was nominated by fellow Republican Representatives Robert Schenck and Seth McKeel. And Representative Perry Thurston, the House minority leader voiced his support for the new speaker as well.  McKeel said Weatherford is the right quarterback for the team.

“And so it’s time now, that we ask Will Weatherford, this total package of vision, integrity, faith character and strength, to call the plays, to take the snaps, and to confidently lead us down this extraordinary field of ideas,” McKeel said.

Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican, said he’s already working with leaders from both sides of the aisle to formulate a legislative agenda for the coming session. And new Senate President, Don Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville, is making a list of legislative priorities as well, like looking into the state’s elections issues.

I won’t be satisfied and neither should you, unless the 2014 elections in Florida are a model for America,” Gaetz said.

Lawmakers have already begun filing bills for the coming legislative session, which begins in March.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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