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Fernandina Beach lawmaker named president pro tempore of Florida Senate

Januar file photo of State Sen. Aaron Bean
Januar file photo of State Sen. Aaron Bean (WJXT)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean and Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo will serve as top lieutenants to incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, Simpson announced Friday.

Bean, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and has been a leader on health-care issues, will serve the next two years as Senate president pro tempore.

“There is no question the impacts of the ongoing (coronavirus)  pandemic will change the look and feel of these next two years in ways none of us could have imagined when we first decided to run for office,” Simpson said in a prepared statement. “Senator Bean’s authenticity, positivity and optimism, combined with his deep knowledge and experience in the legislative process, make him a perfect fit for the critical role of president pro tempore.”

Passidomo, who was first elected to the Senate in 2016 and is expected to succeed Simpson as president in November 2022, will serve as chairwoman of the Rules Committee.

“Throughout her years of public service, Senator Passidomo has gained the respect of senators on both sides of the political aisle by listening to the concerns each senator brings forward and working to build consensus,” Simpson said in a statement. “She has exhibited sound judgment and a fair-minded, reasonable and thoughtful approach to decision making that, I am confident, will be a great benefit to the Senate over the next two years.”

The appointments were the first two announced by Simpson, who will formally become Senate president during a Nov. 17 organization session.

Incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, announced a full leadership team and changes in House committees on Thursday.