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Amid natural disasters and budget negotiations, a Panama City lawmaker bids farewell to the Florida Legislature

Rep. Jay Trumbull makes remarks on the House floor, March 5, 2018.
Rep. Jay Trumbull makes remarks on the House floor, March 5, 2018.

Budget negotiations are on Rep. Jay Trumbull‘s mind -- along with wildfires, a small plane crash, and damaging storms in his district.

Trumbull, R-Panama City, is chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He gave an emotional farewell speech on the House floor this week as he is term-limited out of office after the November elections.

“Sometimes we get to choose our place of focus. Sometimes they are chosen for us. It was chosen for me in October 2018 when Michael, a category 5 hurricane, crushed my hometown of Panama City,” Trumbull said. “I took my job serious before, but from that point forward, I learned the true meaning of public service.”

Now, wildfires in the panhandle are being fueled by tons of dead trees left by Michael. A tornado also touched down in Callaway this week leaving some damage, and the crash of a Cessna in a wooded area near a local airport killed a Michigan couple.

Trumbull’s parents, wife, and three young children watched from the House gallery as he addressed his colleagues.

“Together, this group of individuals has tackled a multitude of issues, had light-hearted and passionate debate, and often gotten incredibly frustrated with each other,” Trumbull said. “But we've always had respect.”

Trumbull is a small business owner. He told his kids he’s ready to come home.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.