Garrett Richter named Fla. Senate president pro-tempore

Richter uses play money to explain taxes. State Senator Garrett Richter paid a visit to Jennifer Sickels' second grade class at Tommie Barfield Elementary School on Friday, teaching a civics lesson through Junior Achievement. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

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Richter uses play money to explain taxes. State Senator Garrett Richter paid a visit to Jennifer Sickels' second grade class at Tommie Barfield Elementary School on Friday, teaching a civics lesson through Junior Achievement. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Sen. Garrett Richter is getting a promotion.

Incoming Fla. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, plucked the Naples state senator to serve on his leadership team.

Richter, whose appointment was announced Wednesday, will serve as president pro tempore, and will effectively be Gaetz’s top lieutenant. The Naples Republican is the first named member of Gaetz’s leadership team.

“It was my goal when I got to the Senate to serve in a meaningful and responsible manner,” Richter said. “And I’m glad I will be able to continue to do so.”

Richter said it remains to be seen what his selection will mean for Southwest Florida.

“It will give me frequent access to leadership because I’ll be part of that leadership team,” he said. “I will be able to have input on various policy decisions as they’re being formed, as opposed to reviewing policy decisions after they’ve been made.”

Gaetz cited Richter’s business experience as a community banker as a factor in his selection.

“When economic policy is being developed and debated, we need the common sense and entrepreneurial talent of a leader who signs the front side of paychecks,” Gaetz said in a prepared statement. “That’s Garrett Richter.”

After serving one term in the Florida House, Richter was elected to the state Senate without opposition in 2008. He won reelection this year, again without opposition.

Richter led efforts to downsize state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. as chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee for the past two years. The Legislature’s focus next session will be on job creation and education, he said.

Richter’s appointment will become effective Nov. 20, when the Senate convenes for its organizational session.

Because he is serving his last term, Richter is not in line to become Senate president. Gaetz is slated to serve in the position for the next two years, followed by Orlando Sen. Andy Gardiner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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