After today’s inauguration festivities, the kids who grew up playing Oregon Trail on those boxy beige Apple II computers are now in charge of virtually all major government offices in Florida. Last November’s elections were a nearly complete sweep of the elder generation out of office, replacing them with Generation Xers.
Generation X, commonly defined as the Americans born between roughly 1961 and 1981, grew up in a time of general peace and prosperity — too young to remember the Vietnam War and young adults during the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and managed to survive the high school and college years before ubiquitous cell phone cameras and social media made navigating those formative times all the more challenging.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was born in 1978, takes over from Baby Boomer and Senator-elect Rick Scott, born in 1952. Former Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (born 1973) was one of the Gen-Xers in the previous administration, and is replaced by DeSantis’ running mate, Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Núñez, born in 1972.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) January 8, 2019
Florida’s new Cabinet is now one-hundred percent Generation X, with Attorney General Ashley Moody (born 1975) replacing Pam Bondi (born 1965), CFO Jimmy Patronis (born 1972) reelected in November after he replaced Jeff Atwater (born 1958), and the sole statewide elected Democrat, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (born 1977) taking over from Adam Putnam (born 1974).
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) January 8, 2019
Additionally, Florida’s senior Senator, Sen. Marco Rubio was born in 1971 and Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel — recently appointed by DeSantis to be the next Secretary of State — was born in 1969. Ertel will replace Ken Detzner, born 1952.
The Legislature also has Gen Xers in key leadership positions, including Senate President Bill Galvano (born 1966), and in the House, Speaker José Oliva (born 1973), Speaker pro tempore MaryLynn Magar (born 1963), Majority Leader Dane Eagle (born 1983), and Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee (born 1977), as well as many of the committee chairs in both chambers.
Congratulations to all my fellow Generation Xers now running our state. We avoided dysentery and broken wagon axles as kids, survived excessively flannel-based fashion trends, graduated college in time for the real estate bubble to burst, provided a significant portion of the combat forces in America’s military engagements in the Middle East, probably still have a few boxes of CDs gathering dust in our closets, and taught our parents how to send text messages and use Facebook. We’re ready to lead.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
Image via Method Shop via Flickr.