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New Senate President Galvano Pledges To Restore Civility To Tallahassee

State Sen. Bill Galvano of Bradenton speaks in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota
Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media
State Sen. Bill Galvano of Bradenton speaks in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota

New State Senate President Bill Galvano says he has high hopes for new era of cooperation in Tallahassee this year.

"It's time to return respect and honor to government," he said during a meeting of the Argus Foundation Tuesday in Sarasota. "It's not just about scoring points and putting them on the board, but it's about having decorum. It's about civility and how we deal with one another - not just in the chamber, but how we deal with the other chamber and how we deal with the executive.

"But I believe we can be that example," he said, "not only for the state of Florida, but for the entire nation."

Galvano, whose Senate district includes Manatee and southeastern Hillsborough counties, said that he expects to get a lot accomplished this year with incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Galvano also said he can work with DeSantis' proposals to clean up the state's waters,  especially his committment to Everglades restoration and reducing red tide and blue-green algae.

"He is not afraid to make a decision that he believes is the best course of action," he said of the new governor. "And I've watched it in his appointments, I've watched it with who he's surrounded himself and I've watched it in how he's prioritized it. And this executive decision on water - it's a bold move."

Galvano said he'll push for an additional water storage area north of Lake Okeechobee. He says that would help eliminate the waves of blue-green algae that has polluted rivers in southern Florida.

He also spoke about the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system that would connect Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Galvano pledged to look at "innovative ways" to move in the next century.

"It's a billion-dollar project," he said, "but I'd rather spend a little more money and have a dedicated lane, so that when the vehicles that move us - whether they be autonomous or otherwise - have availability of space going forward."

The rapid bus system is currently proposed to ride on the shoulder of part of Interstate 275, and share lanes with traffic in some other areas.

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Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.