Larry Cretul: I will preside in an orderly and fair manner
Published: Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:12 p.m.
One of the greatest things about our country is that the institutions of government transcend the individuals who occupy political office at any given time.
As a member of the Florida House of Representatives, I am daily reminded that I am part of a constitutional structure far bigger and more important than any one person.
From November of last year until this past Friday, the Florida House was presided over by Representative Ray Sansom, a colleague and dear friend. He is a good man who cares deeply about our state.
But, as has been widely reported, Representative Sansom is the subject of several ongoing legal proceedings, matters that inevitably became a significant distraction from his duties as Speaker. Acting in the best interests of the Florida House and of the people we serve, Representative Sansom decided temporarily to step aside.
Because my colleagues in November elected me Speaker Pro Tempore, under the rules of the House, it is now my responsibility to exercise all of the powers and duties of the office of Speaker.
The people of Florida can have every confidence that the House of Representatives will continue to effectively pursue what is best for our state. Having a new presiding officer will do nothing to change the basic orientation of the Florida House. For many years now, the Republican-led House has been at the forefront of the fight for lower state and local taxes, for excellence and accountability in education, for effective law enforcement, for less regulation, and for traditional values. Our priorities and guiding principles will not change.
In the months ahead, Florida's elected leaders have a lot of big decisions to make. Foremost among them is what to do in response to a state revenue downturn that might reach $5 billion. The challenge will be to meet the state's basic obligations without unduly burdening the people, slowing our economic recovery, or making short-sighted (but hard-to-reverse) changes to the role and scope of government.
This year's regular legislative session begins on March 3. I am committed to presiding over a legislative process that is orderly, fair, and deliberative. And I am confident that our work will yield a final product that best serves our state.
All Floridians can be assured that, in the great debates to come, the voice of the Florida House of Representatives will be heard loud and clear.
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