The Freshman Class
The Florida House gets 35 new members. All seven new senators served in the House. Here's a roundup.
Garrett Richter (R)
District 37 — part of Collier and Lee
Family: Wife, Diana Richter; children, Melissa, Elizabeth, Robert
Replaces: Burt Sanders (R), who was term-limited out of office
Background: Richter ran unopposed in the heavily GOP district. In 1989, he co-founded First National Bank of Naples and 16 years later sold it to Fifth Third for $1.5 billion. He is a founder, director and president of First National Bank of the Gulf Coast, slated to open in Naples this month. In the Senate, the fiscal conservative has vowed to work on improving the environment, lowering property taxes and improving education.
Christopher “Chris” Smith (D)
District 29 — parts of Broward and Palm Beach
Occupation: Attorney with Johnson, Anselmo, Murdoch, Burke, Piper & Hochman
Home: Fort Lauderdale
Family: Wife, Desorae Giles-Smith; children, Christopher and Christian
Replaces: Mandy Dawson (D), who was term-limited out of office
Background: Smith faced only nominal opposition from a write-in candidate. He has vowed to fight attempts to weaken the class size amendment and promised to support additional funding for the voluntary pre-kindergarten program. He proposes expanding the KidCare healthcare program and supports expanding stem cell research. He supports reforming Florida’s CAT fund to provide hurricane insurance policies to every Floridian, up to $500,000.