For now, Florida Legislature talks about cooperation, bipartisanship
TALLAHASSEE — Bipartisanship. Cooperation. Across the aisle.
These were the buzzwords and phrases Tuesday during the swearing in of a massive new class of lawmakers who are part of the 86th Legislature that will convene in March.
The aftermath of the Nov. 6 election, which saw Democrats gain seven seats overall, has tempered Republicans. Just two years ago GOP leaders boasted about how conservative Tallahassee had become. Now, amid a backlash against a voting law passed by Republicans in 2011, both GOP leaders set less strident tones during their inaugural speeches, stressing cooperation among all members and a rejection of petty political squabbles.
"The election is over," said Will Weatherford, who became at 33 the youngest House speaker in modern Florida history and the first from Tampa Bay since 2004.
To those who want President Barack Obama or Congress to fail, Weatherford said: "You are wishing America to fail, and that is unacceptable."