A longtime legislator from Miami Gardens will lead the Democrats of the Florida Senate for the next two years.
Sen. Oscar Braynon’s ascension to Senate minority leader was made official Monday evening in advance of Tuesday’s organizational session for the 2016-18 Legislature. He’s now in charge of a 15-member Democratic caucus, of which 11 are newly elected senators.
“I’m happy to be taking on that role,” Braynon said. “We’re going to have a bunch of blank slates when it comes to what happens in the Senate. There’s a lot of potential there.”
One of those newcomers is freshman Broward County Sen. Lauren Book, whom the Democratic caucus also unanimously elected as Braynon’s No. 2 in the role of Senate Democratic leader pro tempore.
Book, of Plantation, is a prominent advocate for victims of childhood sexual abuse and the founder and CEO of Aventura-based Lauren’s Kids. She is also the daughter of powerful Tallahassee lobbyist Ron Book, whom she called “her best friend, rock and mentor.”
Although the Republican majority in the Senate will drive the agenda, Braynon said his goal as minority leader is to continue pushing for Democratic priorities, such as equal pay for women and raising the minimum wage, protecting the environment, improving access to health care and strengthening public education.
Photo credit: Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times