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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Jeff Atwater elected Senate president



S025Sen. Jeff Atwater will take the gavel as the next president of the Florida Senate, and he thanked his colleagues today for the honor.

Atwater praised Gov. Charlie Crist, Speaker Ray Sansom and his family.

"I look forward to working with you and I thank you for your support. When the polls closed on Nov. 4, the election ended," Atwater said to Sen. Al Lawson.

He spoke about the Lewis & Clark expedition and said that "spirit of exploration" inspires him today.

"We have welcomed to these shores those who would take the dangerous journey in search of freedom," Atwater said. "We are a people restless to build a future that the world will envy."

"Today I want to speak to you directly about the most important issue of this moment."

He said he wants to tackle the economic challenges.

"We face unprecedented challenges that cannot be deferred and they will not be delayed," Atwater said. "We have seen their drive and their spirit too many times to doubt. But for us now, we must build a government that honors their hard work."

He talked about families tightening their belts, "So must their government."

"Our government must encourage entrepreneurship and not impeded it. It must serve not as an anchor, but as a sail," Atwater said.

He talked about creating a select, bipartisan committee to look at the economy and come up with answers to solve the crisis.

"This is a crisis and we'll treat it as such," Atwater said. He said the recommendations they come up with will be ready for the regular session.


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:47pm]


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