In eight years in the Florida House, Bullard took the opposite tack of his wife, the loquacious Sen. Larcenia Bullard. He said almost nothing. The Bullards garnered a measure of controversy this year when they backed an I Believe'' license plate that had religious overtones many felt was too preachy.
Bullard moved into his House seat after his wife vacated it, and their son, Dwight Bullard, intends to succeed him.
Somehow in Miami-Dade's fractious and rough-and-tumble caucus, Garcia remained above the fray and as neutral as can be.
Garcia was a specialist in retail politics in Hialeah, getting the backing of the ultra-powerful senior citizens who appreciated his boyish looks and tireless efforts to bring state money back home.
Garcia played a key role on health issues, teaming up with House Speaker Marco Rubio and others to soften the blow of social services cuts to Miami-Dade. He tried repeatedly to improve KidCare health insurance for kids and fought behind the scenes in 2005 to keep a Medicaid reform project out of Miami-Dade for five years.
Garcia is planning to run for an open Senate seat in 2010.
The leader of the Democrats in the Senate is often fond of saying he's an expert in something or other, such as insurance or property taxes or gambling.
And he's often right.
His 20 years of legislative experience and the bipartisan sentiment in the clubby Senate gave him a disproportionate amount of power to shape tax and insurance policy, though Democrats are in the minority. Loud and funny, Geller often jokes about how loud and funny he is.
From spearheading safety regulations for carnival rides to overhauling property insurance, Geller leaves behind a trail of legislation bearing his imprint. His swan song: The Steven A. Geller Autism Coverage Act providing health insurance coverage to some children with the developmental disability.
As senator for one of the poorest districts in South Florida, Dawson represented a population that few other legislators can imagine. She ascended the ranks of power to chair the Health Policy committee and was only the second African American woman in the Senate to chair a committee.
But her effectiveness and authority were undercut by perennial absences, arthritis and struggles with pain-killer addiction that led to an arrest for altering a prescription.
Dawson's absences helped derail an expansion of Kidcare health insurance subsidies for children last year, but this year she pushed the legislation more aggressively and made sure to join senators of both parties to fight to protect the poor and elderly.
A tireless Democratic foot soldier, Meadows is known by many as among the friendliest and most loyal of the minority party's House caucus. Meadows heads home with the big-time respect of his colleagues, but not any big-time legislation attached to his name, though he did fight successfully for a small-manufacturer tax break that his constituents sought.
Meadows signature phrase: One day.'' He appends it to the end of each pledge of allegiance, which he attends as religiously as he does most floor sessions. His star performance came in 2001 when he suffered from a 103 fever and made it the House floor anyway to ensure Democrats had enough votes to slow Republicans down.
A ranking member on the Policy and Budget Council, Seiler formed half of the Democrats' dynamic duo with leader Dan Gelber.
Seiler's no-nonsense style and quick trial-lawyer cleverness helped hold Democrats together this year and keep Republicans at bay. He was a go-to guy for tough policy proposals, from a property-insurance overhaul last year to a bipartisan property tax-cut plan that ultimately failed to the restructuring of state courts under a constitutional mandate from voters.
One of the most well-respected Democrats in the House, Seiler was often consulted by top Republicans on legislation to make sure the policies -- if not the politics -- were right.