In session's final hours, emotional Senate says goodbye to Legg
Tears flowed on the Senate floor Friday as senators said goodbye to John Legg, the Pasco County Republican and education expert who served 12 years in the Legislature and who was the odd man out in a court-ordered remapping of Senate districts in Tampa Bay.
"It's time to go home," Legg said, his voice breaking in his final floor speech as a lawmaker.
Senators have spent about 20 hours over the past two weeks in flowery farewell speeches for the 13 senators who are term-limited out of office or have decided to run for another office. Legg was the only departing senator who didn't ask for a ceremony, and in earlier statements he left open the possibility that he might try to run in a redrawn seat in Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, briefly stopped Senate floor proceedings to honor Legg, and he recalled once backing Legg's opponent in a Pasco House race, "and John whipped our butt," and that Legg named one of his sons Jack after Latvala. Moments later, Latvala turned and wept openly.
"Maybe John comes back to be with us again and maybe he doesn't," Latvala said.
Legg sounded as if his legislative career is over. "(Sen.) Wilton (Simpson) and I are good friends and the maps just didn't work out. It's time for me to go home," he said.