Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, was officially designated by his Republican colleagues as the next Senate president assuming the GOP maintains control of the upper house after the 2018 election. Republicans currently hold a 24-16 majority in the Senate.
The Republican Caucus unanimously approved Galvano during a meeting Tuesday morning in the Senate chambers.
In his acceptance speech, Galvano recognized that Florida has some tough challenges ahead of it. He points to forecasts that show the state’s budget growing faster than the revenue that is being brought into state coffers.
It’s a problem that is being magnified by the damage inflicted on the state by Hurricane Irma.
He recalled a saying his late father, Phil, a golf pro, would tell him–”remember to play the hole you’re on.”
“And that’s we should do, and the hole we’re on…is one in which a massive storm has come through the state causing us to re-examine, re-visit, re-analyze, many aspects of our state and its operation.”
Galvano says recovering from Irma and the estimated $2.5 billion in destruction the storm caused to the state’s agriculture industry will need to be addressed in the short term.
“We have our work cut out for us. It’s going to take our energy and commitment,” said Galvano. “But I can tell you this, I am very optimistic. I’m optimistic because I have confidence in all of you and I have faith in the great state of Florida.”
He says in the long term he wants the Senate to consider new ideas–”innovation to prepare us to move boldly and strongly into the next century.”
ne“It’s such a phenomenal state. It’s so fascinating. It’s so diverse,” Galvano said. “Every region of our state is exploding with potential.”
Galvano, a 51-year-old attorney, has served in both chambers of the Legislature after having first been elected to the House in 2002. After a brief break from politics, Galvano ran for the Senate in 2012.
“Bill is a true statesman. His intelligence, his ability to do the things that have to be done, and his commitment to serving others will allow for great things to happen in the Senate,” said Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, the Senate Republican leader.
Galvano is set to take over the Senate presidency after next year’s November general election, when current Senate President Joe Negron’s two-year term is over.
“Bill is a strong and dedicated leader who quickly earned the trust and confidence of our Republican Caucus,” said President Negron. “From his service as Rules Chair in the Florida House, to his time as Majority Leader in the Florida Senate, to his current role as Chair of Higher Education Appropriations, time and time again, Bill is trusted with and excels in critical leadership positions.”
Galvano has been called on to tackle some of the tough issues the state has faced over his 13 year legislative career. He was involved in the investigation into allegations of misconduct against former House Speaker Ray Sansom, who later resigned. He was also a key player in writing Florida’s gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe.
“It’s not about me. It’s about us. It’s about all of us,” Galvano said.