Now that the campaign season has ended, it is with a great sense of hope that I, along with other members of the Florida House Democratic Caucus, prepare for the start of a new legislative session in which a new era of bipartisanship and cooperation will be on display.
As the incoming Democratic Leader, I’m proud of the work of our political party, our candidates and the many voters who indicated they share our point of view about how to address Florida’s needs and priorities. By the voters’ actions, the Florida House Democratic Caucus grows to 44 members strong. And while our caucus is not large enough to be in the majority or be able to control all that happens in Tallahassee, I trust that we have the influence to have our concerns heard and addressed.
As Democrats, we are the party of diversity and I’m pleased that the membership of the Democratic Caucus truly reflects Florida’s great diversity and strengths. I’m also comforted by the fact that our relationships with other members in the Legislature are strong. I enjoy a close friendship with my counterpart in the Florida Senate, state Sen. Chris Smith, and I know that he’ll be a fantastic leader.
Like other members of our Democratic Caucus, I have warm regards and much confidence in Representative Will Weatherford, the Republican Caucus speaker-designate. He and I have already had many conversations about the future of Florida, and I enjoy a close working relationship with him.
The election is over, and we have enormous challenges ahead of us. Now, it is incumbent on each of us who serves in the Legislature to get to work. This is a message that the voters have sent us. They have said they are tired of bitterness in politics and they don’t like partisan gridlock.
Important business awaits us. Job creation, education, healthcare, elections and ethics reform are only a few of the many important subjects that will be addressed in the next legislative session.
I believe that we want a positive agenda that takes Florida forward, and I can assure you that Florida House Democratic Caucus members will support legislation that does more than just advocate for conservatives or liberals.
Rather, we aim to promote good for all Floridians for a long time to come.
Perry Thurston Jr., Florida House Democratic Leader-designate, Plantation