TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Republican State Senator Bill Galvano and GOP Representative Jose Oliva were formally elected Tuesday to serve as Senate president and House speaker for the next two years, moving into two of the most-powerful jobs in the state.
Galvano and Oliva had long been positioned to move into the roles, with Tuesday’s election coming during an organization session of the legislature.
Republicans hold a 73 to 47 advantage in the House and outnumber Democrats 23 to 17 in the Senate.
President Galvano, of Bradenton, has served in the Florida House and Senate since 2002. During a brief address to the Senate, he spoke of unity and coming together following a close and hard-fought election.
“Now is the time to move forward, united together for the purpose of representing to the very best of our ability, the people of Florida," said Galvano.
Oliva also called for civility among lawmakers, even as he vowed to continue his party’s push for limited government in the areas of healthcare, education and housing.
“If we are truly committed to raising wages, we must challenge the endless taking, in taxes and fees, surcharges, assessments and the like," said Oliva. "If you want people to have more, you must begin by taking less.”
On Tuesday, Jacksonville State Senator Audrey Gibson and Representative Kionne McGhee of Miami also moved into their roles as Senate and House minority leaders for the next two years.
The one-day session also included swearing in senators and House members elected November 6. The regular legislative session will begin March 5.