Republican senators officially designate Bill Galvano as Senate prez, he promises two years focused on innovation
Florida Senate Republicans formally announced their support of Bradenton state Sen. Bill Galvano as their next leader Tuesday, selecting him to be Senate president in November 2018 if they hold the majority in the next elections.
Galvano, 51, a lawyer who grew up in Bradenton as the son of a golf pro, has been on a leadership trajectory since 2002, when he was first elected to the Florida House. He told the Senate chamber, filled with fellow lawmakers, supporters and family members, that his goal for his tenure was to focus on innovation to move the state forward.
He said his father, Phil Galvano, an innovator in the golf world, used to tell him, “Remember to play the hole we’re on,” he said. Today, that means focusing on repairs to infrastructure, roads, waterways and utilities in the wake of Hurricane Irma, he said.
But in the long term, Galvano said his focus will be on “better ways to do things — innovation. Innovation to prepare us to move boldly and strongly into the next century, to stand out as a leader in how we incorporate and how we serve the millions that come to visit us and come to stay with us, including our friends from Puerto Rico.”
He named his political committee “Innovate Florida” and since 2013 has raised $7 million to amass support, pay for his presidency race and reward supporters.
The two-year president’s position is one of the three most powerful positions in state government, in charge of a Republican-controlled chamber that has 24 Republicans to 16 Democrats but has become increasingly divided along ideological issues. He will lead the political campaign to maintain the majority in one of the most active mid-term elections in recent Florida history, with open seats for governor and entire Cabinet being heavily contested.
Galvano thanked his mother, Betty, 82, for leading him to public service. He spoke of his father, the son of Sicilian immigrants, who became one of the nation’s top golf instructors with a list of clients that included celebrities like Johnny Carson and Perry Como. Galvano hosts an annual golf tournament each spring and has raised more than $3 million for Manatee County schools.
When Galvano told his dad he was running for office, Phil Galvano replied: the good thing about that is “you’ll get to find out for sure how many people don’t like you.” Story here.
Photo: Michael Galvano, Jacqueline Galvano, Julie Galvano, Betty Galvano, Bill Galvano and Michael Galvano pose for a family portrait after Bill Galvano was designated by Republicans to be the next Senate president.