At today’s Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meeting, Senator Arthenia Joyner was elected chairwoman. She is the first Democrat to head the delegation in several years (need to research the last Democrat – might be a decade or more). Rep. Rich Glorioso was elected vice-chair.
In fact, her ascension was rather surprising. Senator Victor Crist was the Vice Chair of the delegation, and tradition held that Vice Chairs would become Chairs, almost like a Chair-Elect. However, when Senator Joyner nominated Senator Crist, he declined and instead nominated her, saying he wanted to correct an injustice from several years ago.
In 2004, former Senator Les Miller, a Democrat, was Vice Chair of the delegation. He was slated to become Chairman. However, former House Speaker Johnnie Byrd engineered a move among Republicans to block his move. Apparently, Speaker Byrd did not want Miller to be able to use the position of Chair for political gain. So Sen. Crist was elected Chair instead.
Actually, this move is not all that surprising. The delegation rules require the Chair to alternate every three years: House – House – Senate. So it had to be someone with experience (i.e. not Storms) and familiarity with Hillsborough (i.e. not Justice) which means either Crist or Joyner.
Still, I admire Sen. Crist for this measure. I know Sen. Joyner was astonished by it, as were the rest of the delegation members. She will do a great job this year.
[Disclosure: I worked for Sen. Crist in the 1990’s and again last year, managing his campaign for re-election.]