Meet the new Senate president: Mike Haridopolos
The Senate today elected Sen. Mike Haridoplos as the new Senate president. The Merritt Island Republican is the 84th Senate president since statehood.
Here are some other tidbits from this morning's ceremonial organizational session:
* 13 new senators took the oath of office while lined up in front of the rostrum alongside spouses and other family members. Two "freshmen" include returning Sens. Jack Latvala of St. Petersburg and Gwen Margolis of Aventura.
* Sen. John Thrasher, the chairman Republican Party of Florida, nominated Haridopolos, calling him "uniquely suited to confront the challenges that we face." Freshman Sen. Anitere Flores of Miami seconded the nomination with a speech built off his campaign slogan, "What's a Haridopolos?"
* Haridopolos is the son of a former FBI agent who immigrated from Greece. He is the second consecutive Senate president (following Jeff Atwater) whose father was a FBI agent.
* Senators also selected Sen. Mike Bennett as president pro tem. Sen. Garrett Richter nominated him and Sen. Chris Smith seconded the motion. Bennett, of Bradenton, served four tours in Vietnam. The self-described "crazy, wild sailor" was once shot out of a cannon.
* Sen. Nan Rich of Weston was also officially installed as minority leader of the 12-member Democratic caucus. She gave brief remarks pledging to work with Haridopolos on many issues.