Addressing the Florida Senate for the first time as its president, Don Gaetz outlined his vision for the year and vowed to reach across the aisle and the rotunda during his term as president. He also took the time to welcome newly elected senators and their families to Tallahassee, welcoming them to "your new extended family -- the Senate family."
That is when the Niceville Republican's speech took an interesting turn, describing the entire 40-member Senate in a way that left reporters in the press gallery guessing out loud who Gaetz was referencing at times.
We came today as forty different people – a nurse, a strawberry grower, a dentist, four educators, a printer, a banker, a dad with a three month old daughter, a mom whose daughter was just wounded in combat halfway across the world, a singer-songwriter, an auctioneer with a putt putt golf course, a guy who spent part of the summer figuring out how to get Turkish olive oil to Miami, a farmer with a million chickens and he’s named each one of them. There’s the usual posse of lawyers and the rest of us.
So who owns the putt-putt course? Who's got a newborn, and who has the daughter in uniform? And, please tell us who is in the Turkish olive oil business?
Luckily, Gaetz's spokeswoman decoded the riddle for us. Answers are below in parenthesis after each phrase of the speech.
a nurse, (Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring)
a strawberry grower, (Greg Evers, R-Baker)
a dentist, (Alan Hays, R-Umatilla)
four educators, (John Legg, R-Port Richey, Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, Anitere Flores, R-Miami, Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee)
a printer, (Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater)
a banker, (Garrett Richter, R-Naples)
a dad with a three month old daughter, (Tom Lee, R-Brandon)
a mom whose daughter was just wounded in combat halfway across the world, (Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland)
a singer-songwriter (Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth)
an auctioneer with a putt putt golf course, (Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach)
a guy who spent part of the summer figuring out how to get Turkish olive oil to Miami, (Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah)
a farmer with a million chickens and he’s named each one of them. (Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby)
There’s the usual posse of lawyers and the rest of us.