Governor Rick Scott's stern and jubilant tone set the stage for what we can expect this legislative session. On opening day, lawmakers and state leaders all gathered in Tallahassee to hear the Governor's State of the State address. Among the crowd was Senate President Don Gaetz. It's a quite bittersweet feeling for him; this is the first day of his last term.
On Tuesday, Gaetz' started off his day by meeting with the doctor for the senate's ‘Doc of the Day' program. This time it was Senator Eleanor Sobel's husband, Stuart. He's a dermatologist in Hollywood, Florida.
Then it was his off to first official business, signing several resolutions, handed to him by Carlecia Collins his assistant, she has him covered the moment he walks through the door.
It doesn't end there: a picture session with the Senate Pages, staff meetings to finalize his speech, and of course, visiting with his colleagues, who are constantly rooting him on. "Have some breakfast. I wish I could. I haven't earned it yet." Gaetz said.
Onward he goes. The anxious and ambitious President continues his march towards the top, taking his place at the head of the Senate chambers. After a few brief remarks, it's off to the House for a joint session. Governor Rick Scott made his third State of the State Address.
"Our constitutional duty is to pass a budget and we're going to do that unlike the federal government that seems to be totally dysfunctional in Washington." Gaetz says this is the first projected surplus in 6 years.
So with good news and hot topic issues planned for discussion, Senate President Gaetz stands optimistic. He hopes that after his term is up in 2016, that his work would be enough to live up to his father's legacy. "If one day, I can do the right thing as my father did, I'll be proud to leave this place and go back home." Gaetz said.
Tuesday afternoon, the Senate took on its first piece of business, an ethics reform bill. Senator Gaetz considers this to be a crucial part of his legacy and presidency; it got unanimous support by the chamber and now heads to the House for its approval.