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Gov. Scott ushers in holidays with lawmakers at mansion

After a long day of committee meetings, legislators ambled to the Governor's Mansion for a holiday reception with Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

Plenty of House and Senate members, as well as several legislative affairs directors, showed up with their spouses, taking pictures with Carroll, Scott and his wife Ann and munching on bacon-wrapped scallops and other finger foods from mansion chef John Minas. A cellist played Christmas tunes as they chatted with each other and checked out the festive decor, including a couple Christmas trees and white poinsettias.

Leaders from both houses made an appearance, including House Speaker Dean Cannon, Rep. Will Weatherford, Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Senate budget chief JD Alexander.

Scott made brief remarks about his blessings this year, including the arrival of his 3-week-old grandson, who is "quiet like me." 

"We love being here," Scott said. "We love this town. We love the people who work around the mansion. We love being governor, and I know Jennifer loves being lieutenant governor and Ann loves being First Lady."

The coziness was bipartisan, at least for a couple hours.

"I am very proud to have the governor and First Lady live in our town," said Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Democrat who Scott asked to speak because she lives in Tallahassee. She added they have become good friends and complimented Ann for her taste of art.