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Senator Passidomo has been tapped as the next leader of the Florida Senate. She'll be the third woman to take on the job

A woman in a dark navy jacket is clapping her hands
Wilfredo Lee
AP photo
Florida Sen. Kathleen Passidomo is shown during a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

Florida Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) has been named Senate President designate. When she takes control of the Senate next year, she'll be the third woman in the state's history to lead the chamber.

"You know, I've practiced law for 40-some years now and when I first started practicing I was the only woman in the room. And my whole thought was I either join them or I get locked out. So I worked with my male colleagues and was able to have a successful career and I anticipate doing the same thing here in the Senate," Passidomo said.

Passidomo told a group of reporters Tuesday she thinks of herself as a lawmaker—not a woman lawmaker. But she said she is glad to serve as a role model for young women and hopes to see more women elected as leaders in the Senate as well as the House.

Passidomo follows in the footsteps of former senators Gwen Margolis (D-Miami) and Toni Jennings (R-Orlando).

In 1990 Margolis became the first woman to serve as President of the Florida Senate. She spent more than 4 decades in public office before retiring from the Senate in 2016. She died on June 9, 2020.

Toni Jennings was elected President 1996. She remained in the role through 2000 and is the only person in modern history elected to serve two consecutive terms as Senate President.

Jennings later became the first woman Lt. Governor before retiring in 2007.

Passidomo said she's already consulted with Jennings about her new role.

"She's as feisty as can be and gave me some really good ideas," Passidomo said.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy covers healthcare and government in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media.

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

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