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Ken Pruitt resigns from Senate

by Dara Kam | May 8th, 2009

Sen. Ken Pruitt will resign effective August 4.

Pruitt, who has served in the legislature for nearly two decades, told his Senate President successor Jeff Atwater today that he is retiring from politics, Atwater said.

The Port St. Lucie Republican’s decision came as a surprise, said Atwater, who called his friend and colleague “a class act.”

“This man completely was the centerpiece of the Florida senate for virtually the past decade,” said Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, whose senate district abuts Pruitt’s.

Pruitt served as budget chief and rules chairman before becoming Senate President in 2006. He was elected to the Senate in 2000 after serving a decade in the House.

Pruitt delivered his resignation in a private meeting with Gov. Charlie Crist earlier in the day.

“He’s retiring from politics to go home and be with his bride, God bless him. What a wonderful man and a tremendous career in public service,” Crist said.

Crist and Pruitt became strong allies since Crist took office two years ago, sharing the stage on issues such as property taxes and Bright Futures, Pruitt’s brainchild.

“I can’t say enough good things about President Pruitt. Just a wonderful, wonderful friend and a great man,” Crist said.

Atwater said Pruitt told him of his intention to resign over the telephone after the sine die ceremony marking the end of the legislative session.

“That’s the kind of class act that he is,” Atwater said.

Atwater said he asked Pruitt, 52, why he hadn’t said something at lunch so the other senators could say farewell and Pruitt told him: “This was not my day. This was the senate’s day. This was the people of Florida’s day.”

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4 Responses to “Ken Pruitt resigns from Senate”

  1. Bryan Longworth Says:

    Art Argenio is the right man to serve in Pruitt’s place. Art stands for limited government and limited taxation. Art will fight on behalf of the citizens of Florida and his district to reduce the size and scope of government along with the tax burden that keep our economy from growing. Join Art’s campaign facebook group:

  2. Mike Cusick Says:

    Senator Ken Pruitt set a high standard for anyone that follows him. The people of Florida generally and children specifically are much better off because of his public service both in the House of Representatives and in the Florida Senate. He will be missed because of his commitment to his fellow citizens but also because of his roll as a mentor and model for others in public service. His list of accomplishments is long but I hope that we never forget his support for children. State policies and the state budget contain much of his efforts on behalf of foster children and others that dependent completely on state help. Thousands of young people have and will continue to have the opportunity to go to college because of Senator Pruitt. This list of accomplishments could go on for several pages.

    Senator Pruitt, thank you for your service. We and our children are all better off because of your efforts.

    Mike Cusick
    President/CEO Florida Coalition for Children

  3. Paul D. Harvill Says:

    I remember when Senator Pruitt was a Florida House member. He was a very anti-environmental representative. If I remember correctly, he had the worst pro-environmental record in the House at the time.

    He has matured and grown greatly in wisdom since then.

    I honor his service in the Florida Senate.

    My spouse died thirteen years ago, Senator Pruitt.

    That void slowly becomes smaller, but the void shall always be there.


  4. Denny R. Wood Says:

    In 2004 we sought $5 million more for Vocational Rehabilitation. This drew down a big match from the feds. Senator Pruit, made not possible, possible and in less than one day it was added to the budget.
    He took no public credit, but our lobbying team of two people, in wheelchairs, know that Senator Pruitt made it happen.
    Finding responsive legislators for people with disabilities issues is difficut these days. Senator Pruitt was a breath of fresh air.
    The following year, new players, and we only added $3.5 million to get a large federal match.
    In 2010 we intend to revisit the legislature and will miss our senator.

    Denny R. Wood

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