Over the past few sessions of the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, the Senate has been the chamber where moderate voices can at least be heard, if not prevail.
Gun safety. Money for education. And even the environment. All have gotten bipartisan airings, and in some cases even yielded compromise legislation.
That trend is likely to continue as the arrival of fair legislative districts could have the Democrats pick up as many as four seats in the Nov. 8 election. Not enough for a 20-20 split, but 22-18 comes closer to parity.
To manage this new normal, The Post endorses Republican Sen. Joe Negron for the new state Senate District 25. Voters would be smart to return Negron to Tallahassee for any number of reasons, none greater than that he is slated to become Senate president and will be setting the agenda for the upper chamber.
The Post has not always agreed with Negron. For example, his strident view on so-called Dreamers being ineligible for in-state tuition showed a troubling lack of compassion. But his plans to raise the level of the Florida State University System and reverse draconian cuts to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program are a laudable approaches to buoying both the state’s economy and middle class.
And he made clear to The Post Editorial Board that he plans to take the lead in finding a fix for the region’s water issues, including the Lake Okeechobee discharges that result in the damaging algal blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. His Democratic opponent, Bruno Moore, did not accept an invitation to meet with the Editorial Board.
In Senate District 30, The Post recommends state Rep. Bobby Powell. As we said in August, Powell’s four years in the Florida House give him the advantage of relationships and knowledge of the legislative landscape to help move bipartisan legislation. His Republican opponent, retired businessman Ron Berman, said his first sponsored bill would eliminate the sales tax on business leases.
The Post again endorses Sen. Jeff Clemens, set to become the Senate Democratic leader in the 2018 legislative session, for the state Senate District 31 seat. Having won in the August primary, he is on the Nov. 8 ballot versus a write-in slot.