The Freshman Class
The Florida House gets 35 new members. All seven new senators served in the House. Here's a roundup.
The New Senators
Four freshmen Republicans and three Democrats were elected to the 40-member state Senate.
Thad Altman (R)
District 24 — parts of Brevard, Orange and Seminole counties
Occupation: Building contractor/consultant
Family: Wife, Mary Pat; children, Hunter, McKenzie, Sullivan
Replaces: Bill Posey (R) of Rockledge, who is now in the U.S. House of Representatives
Background: A five-year veteran of the Florida House, Altman defeated Rockledge attorney Kendall Moore (D) with 58.6% of the vote. The Space Coast Republican campaigned on a platform of lower taxes and reinvigorating the local aerospace industry as NASA prepares to retire the shuttle program in 2010. As a member of the board of Space Florida, Altman worked closely with the House leadership last year to secure $14.5 million to build a commercial launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Altman has been a strong proponent of the environment, co-sponsoring legislation in the House to regulate the disposal of waste from gambling ships and consistently supporting state funding for the Florida Forever Program and the preservation and restoration of the Florida Everglades. He also worked closely with the House leadership last year to help pass a comprehensive energy bill promoting the development of alternative energy sources and green jobs.
Nancy Detert (R)
District 23 — parts of Charlotte, Manatee, and Sarasota counties
Occupation: Marketing representative, Chapman and Associates
Family: Divorced; children, Mark, Bryan, Jamie
Replaces: Lisa Carlton (R), who was term-limited out of office
Background: Detert beat Democrat Morgan Bentley, a Sarasota lawyer, with 58.3% of the vote in one of the nastiest contests in the state. In campaign commercials, Detert called herself a “Jeb Bush Republican” who during her House career worked to lower taxes, cut waste and reform government — but the former mortgage broker also has an independent streak. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Detert “tangled” with Bush over his controversial school voucher plan in 1999 and opposed Republican efforts to extend the life of Terri Schiavo in 2005. Detert has said that education — alongside energy independence and the economy — are among her top priorities.