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Gaetz taps Senate leadership team

by Dara Kam | November 26th, 2012

Senate President Don Gaetz announced his top lieutenants for the next two legislative session, tapping Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers, as Majority Leader and picking Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, as budget chief, a position he also held in the Florida House.

And in a possible nod to President Lincoln, who staffed his Cabinet with one-time adversaries, Gaetz named Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, as chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. Gaetz has made ethics reforms one of his top priorities and lawmakers are being pressured to address a contentious elections overhaul passed last year (HB 1355) that some blame for long lines and other problems during this year ‘s presidential election. Latvala was in a leadership battle against Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, earlier this year. Gardiner is expected to take over the Senate in two years but whether his successor will be Latvala or Negron (or someone else) remains undecided.

As expected, Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, will keep his post as head of the powerful Rules Committee. Thrasher is a former House speaker and also served as chairman of the state GOP.

Returning Sen. Tom Lee, R- Brandon, will be Deputy Majority Leader and Whip, also not a surprise since Lee is a former Senate president.

Negron served as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee for the past two years and has represented Gaetz in talks with the Obama administration recently over how to handle the federally-mandated health care exchanges.

Gaetz is also setting up a special committee to deal with the health care law but hasn’t yet named its chairman.

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5 Responses to “Gaetz taps Senate leadership team”

  1. Searcher Says:

    Let’s see if the GOP learned anything from their KEEP OUT THE VOTE law (HB1355). It actually ENERGIZED voters, who discovered that they didn’t want something taken from them by some angry old farts in Tallahassee. And, of course, Gov Scott needs to go…..

  2. New newspaper coming Says:

    If we have to show ID when we board planes, supply a thumbprint to aluminum salvage company, then we need to have just as stringent requirements for voting.

    Voting lines were LONG because of the NUMEROUS AMENDMENTS people had to wade through.

    There should be a limit as to the number of amendments on a ballot, especially during a presidential run!

    Tired of the mantra spewed by the democrats.

    Can’t wait for a more conservative newspaper for S FL.

    The Palm Beach Post is just too biased. The ‘news’ is very slanted and much regurgitated news bulletins from democrat operatives.

  3. Searcher Says:

    A “new newspaper”? Who are you kidding. The old ones are DYING. You can just go to Tea Party Nation or Redstate and hang out with fellow conservatives. It’s nice how you want to limit the right to vote (this time on Amendments) when it suits YOUR purpose. Why don’t we make it EASY for everyone to vote and live with the results? Wouldn’t that be more democratic?

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  5. Marathon Running Says:

    Good post, keep up the good work… “Gaetz taps Senate leadership team” – interesting title Dara. Well put Dara.

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