State Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican who has become one of Tampa Bay's most powerful lawmakers, on Thursday got a new job in the Senate: president pro tempore.
That appointment makes him top chief to incoming president Jeff Atwater.
"It was unexpected, and I was honored to get the call from President Atwater," Fasano said Thursday. "Of course, I didn't hesitate."
Atwater, R-Palm Beach, announced the appointment in a news release calling Fasano "one of the hardest working individuals in the Florida Senate."
Fasano said his new duties include pushing Atwater's agenda and working with other senators to come up with bi-partisan solutions to an array of problems, including the budget deficit.
That sounds like a change of pace for Fasano, who has chaired powerful transportation and economic development committees and developed a reputation for catering to Pasco constituents and bringing home big bucks.
But Fasano said he thinks the position will be a good challenge, especially during difficult times.
"I'm a Republican, but the bottom line is we need to work together," he said.
He also has prospects of another plum assignment. He said Atwater told him he would also head up a committee, though he does not know yet which one.
Last session, Sen. Lisa Carlton served both as pro tem and as chairwoman of the all-important Senate Budget Committee.
Fasano served in the House for eight years before joining the Senate in 2002.
He served as majority leader in the House and as majority whip in the Senate.
Though he said he's proud of his leadership positions, he said he hasn't been interested in merely puffing up his resume.
"My goal was to always be in a position that would help our Senate district out," he said.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.