Legislators reacted with sadness upon hearing the news Wednesday of the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll but wasted no time considering replacements.
"Jennifer Carroll is a very dear friend and anytime you see a friend go through something difficult, your heart goes out to them,” said Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando. "I think she did probably what was the right thing to keep the governor’s agenda moving forward. And so it won’t be a distraction. But it still hurts. It hurts for her, it hurts for her family.”
Gardiner said he served in leadership in the Florida House with Carroll. “I just feel for her and her family,” he said.
Gardiner also said that he continues to believe Florida should “do away” with internet cafes. “I think they’re taking advantage of loophole in the law,” he said. “I’ve been pretty consistent. I don’t want to regulate them, I want to do away with them.”
Hours after Carroll's resignation, some South Florida political observers took to Twitter to recommend Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican, be tapped for the job. Their hashtag of choice: #Anitere4LT.
Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, endorsed that idea. Flores "has all the great qualities of leadership. She's got the background, the experience,'' Detert said. "Geographically she fits. Being Hispanic doesn't hurt in Florida. She's an attractive candidate, smart woman...I don't know if she's interested or where she stands."
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston called Carroll a dedicated public servant. "I'm very saddened by it,'' he said. "I wish the best to her and her family."
Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, said she was fond of Carroll. "She's going to definitely be missed in the Tampa Bay community because of her strong advocacy on behalf of the military and MacDill Air Force Base. We will miss her."
Republican Party of Florida director Lenny Curry, who is from Carroll's hometown of Jacksonville, called Carroll a "great leader for our party and our state.
"She was a terrific advocate for Florida’s military and economic development efforts,'' Curry said in a statement. "Her resignation is disappointing, but she made the right decision to protect both her family and the work she has done to move our state forward over the
last few years.”
Former Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, who has sponsored a bill to last year to ban internet cafes, continued his push to get the Florida Senate to agreed to the effort.
"The Florida House voted to shut down these illicit gambling operations last year,'' he said in a statement. "The Florida Cabinet unanimously agreed. It's now time for the Florida Senate to act to end this scourge on our state."
His bill was written by the general counsel for the Seminole County sheriff, the office that first began the probe and helped to draw federal investigators into the search.
-- Rochelle Koff, Kathleen McGrory, Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this report