TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- State lawmakers returned to Tallahassee Tuesday to prepare for their next two years in office and they pledged to work together in a spirit of bipartisanship.
Of course, that's what many of them say every two years when they gather for the post-election organizational session at the state Capitol, and Tuesday was no different.
The day-long session was a feel-good moment as lawmakers took the oath of office and shared hard-fought election victories with their families and colleagues.
They also elected their leaders for the next two years. Sen. Don Gaetz is the new Senate president and Rep. Will Weatherford is the new House speaker. Both are Republicans who will lead a Republican-dominated legislature.
Gaetz vows to fix Florida's embarrassing election problems and also to create stricter ethics rules.
Weatherford wants to tackle tough issues like unemployment, the low graduation rate in high school, and the three-and-a-half million Floridians on food stamps.
"These are the enemies of our state and of our people and it's time for us to act."
Weatherford is pledging to lead in a bipartisan way.
"Today you have elected me as speaker of this House. Not just the speaker of the Republican majority but the entire House and I plan to embrace that role."
Democrats gained seats in the election but are still outnumbered in the House 76 to 44. In the Senate, Republicans hold 26 of the 40 seats.