MANATEE -- Florida Senate President Don Gaetz last week predicted a bright political future for Bradenton's freshman state senator, Bill Galvano.
"I think that Bill Galvano could be Senate president, he could be attorney general, he could be governor," Gaetz told the Bradenton Herald Editorial Board during a discussion last week. "And I'm a Bill Galvano fan."
In Tallahassee, Galvano, 46, is "trusted, respected, admired," said Gaetz, R-Destin. He noted that the Bradenton Republican's reputation from eight years in the Florida House had already helped him to become a key player in the Senate.
"He is in the leadership of the Senate as a freshman senator," said Gaetz. "He walked onto the Senate floor and instantly became a leader of the Senate."
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Galvano's previous experience, culminating with his chairmanship of the powerful House Rules and Calendar Council, has burnished his credentials, said Gaetz.
Galvano already has an important post this year as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education when the Florida Legislature's session opens Tuesday.
The Bradenton attorney's earlier handling of a scandal involving former House Speaker Ray Sansom, Gaetz said, was done with "great dignity and with great prowess."
"I mean, who would have thought that the way you handle some of those issues would be to go back to Thomas Jefferson's rules of conduct for parliamentary bodies?" Gaetz said, adding, "Bill Galvano is one of the smartest people I've ever met."
Even before Galvano was elected to the Senate in November, Gaetz had sought the candidate out for help with ethics reform legislation.
"I called him and said, 'Bill, I know you're knocking on doors and are campaigning, but could you carve out some time to help us fashion an approach to ethics?'"
Continued Gaetz: "So if you don't like our ethics bill, blame me. If you think that some of it is good public policy, Bill Galvano's political DNA is in this effort to raise the standard of ethics to a higher level."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.com.