The newest member of the Florida Senate was sworn into office Tuesday morning promising to be “a voice of opportunity for all.”
Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, was elected to the Legislature on Sept. 26 in a special election defeating former state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami.
“This opportunity opens the door to everyone who still believes that together, we can move mountains,” said Senator Taddeo. “Whether it’s affordable healthcare, a quality public education, or clean water, these are the issues that matter to the people of my district and to all Floridians. My promises to change the way business is done in Tallahassee didn’t end on the campaign trail. They’re just getting started.”
Taddeo replace former Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, who was forced to resign in April after making racist comments at a private club in Tallahassee.
Her upset victory allowed Senate Democrats to pick up a seat on their Republican counterparts giving them 40 percent of the Senate seats. The GOP still holds a 24-16 majority.
Taddeo, who was born in Colombia, is the first Hispanic Democratic woman to be elected to the Senate.
“Senator Taddeo represents not only a boost in our Caucus numbers, but a signal that new changes are beginning in the state of Florida,” said Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, of Miami Gardens. “As the first Latina Democratic Senator, and the daughter of an immigrant, she is the embodiment of the American dream, and an inspiration to many in our state that have followed in her footsteps. We are proud to have her as our newest member.”
Her Senate victory marks Taddeo’s first political victory. She previously lost two attempts for Congress, a bid to be a Miami-Dade County Commissioner and was Charlie Crist’s running mate when he lost in the race for governor in 2014.
Sen. Taddeo has been appointed to serve on the following Senate committees for the remainder of the 2017-2018 legislative term: Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, Banking and Insurance, Environmental Preservation and Conservation, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation.
Taddeo says her top two priorities will be education and environmental issues.
“I really believe that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for public education,” she said after being sworn in.