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Sen. Les Miller in line for Senate minority leader

Today is the 10th day of the 60-day session.

Sen. Les Miller has been elected Senate minority leader beginning in 2004.

"You put your confidence in me and I appreciate you for that," Miller, D-Tampa, told the other 13 members of the Democratic Caucus. "We may be small, but we are a force to be reckoned with."

Although outnumbered 26-14, Senate Democrats already have flexed their muscle this session by blocking Gov. Jeb Bush's call for a special election to repeal a constitutional amendment voters approved in November to reduce class sizes.

Miller, the House minority leader from 1998 to 2000, will become the first African-American to hold the post in both legislative chambers.

Elected to the Senate in 2000, Miller defeated Sen. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, D-Weston, for the top Democratic post. Sen. Rod Smith, D-Alachua, brokered a deal, under which Wasserman Shultz will head the caucus in 2006.

"That's why I called him Henry Kissinger," Miller said of Smith.

Miller, 51, manages Minority Business Enterprises/Community Development at Tampa General Hospital. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 1978.