Bradenton attorney Bill Galvano established a strong legislative reputation with his leadership of various powerful House committees during his four terms from 2002-2010. He served District 68 with distinction by creating the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority and with his accomplishments in health care for children and his support for the disabled.
Now he has his sights on returning to Tallahassee as a Republican senator representing the newly drawn District 26, which stretches from the Manatee County coast all the way to Lake Okeechobee. The district includes portions of Hillsborough, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Glades and Charlotte counties.
Galvano's opponent is Democrat Paula House, a Lake Placid attorney and mediator.
During his House tenure, Galvano provided leadership on several politically delicate tasks. As chairman of the Select Committee on Standards of Professional Conduct, he directed the disciplinary proceedings into then-Speaker Ray Sansom's dealings with a Panhandle college. On the eve of an ethics trial for violating House rules on public trust and integrity by steering money to the school, Sansom resigned from the House.
As chairman of the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review, Galvano negotiated a 2010 agreement with the tribe that will place at least $1 billion into state coffers over the course of the five-year deal. He later described that experience as a "tremendous challenge" that was "very rewarding."
He also chaired the Rules and Calendar Council and served on two other powerful panels, the Full Appropriations Council and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission. The latter controls adjustments to the state budget between legislative sessions.
As the House champion of the KidCare health insurance program for low-income families, Galvano pushed legislation that provided children with greater access to medical care.
His passion for children extends to their education, which he describes as his highest priority should he serve in the Senate. He also advocates for a stronger emphasis on technical training, citing Manatee Technical Institute.
His personal commitment to education is reflected in the Phil Galvano Gold Classic, through which he has raised more than $1 million to enhance opportunities for public school students and teachers.
His past awards also attest to his dedication to public service, including the Healthy Families Leadership Award, ARC Legislator of the Year and Florida Sheriff's Association Legislator of the Year. He earned the Chair's Cup for Excellence in Regionalism for creating TBARTA, which became a state model.
For his successful efforts in securing state funding, Bradenton's facility for services to the homeless and needy became the Bill Galvano One Stop Center. He has been a strong supporter of other local projects, facilities and issues, from Port Manatee and Tallevast to beach renourishment and red tide research funding.
The depth of his legislative and leadership experience, the strength of his commitment to public service and his principled approach to issues make Galvano the best candidate in this contest. The Herald Editorial Board recommends Bill Galvano for Senate District 26.
Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board's endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words by 4 p.m. the next weekday after the endorsement appears in print. Those can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 745-7047.
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The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, videotaped candidate forums in a variety of key races.
These forums can be viewed on www.bradenton.com on the "Recent Multimedia" page.
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