I know, I know, I might as well change the name of this site to Latvala-blog, I write so often about the State Senator from Pinellas County. But Latvala is really one of the dominant political figure in this neck of the woods, so it’s actually difficult to NOT write often about him.
Still, I do write often about Latvala, so forgive me for posting yet another entry extolling the virtues of the ol’ grizzly bear.
But did you happen to catch Latvala’s quote about Jim Norman withdrawing from his State Senate race?
He didn’t say I told him so or I told you so. He did not bury Norman further with feint praise. He didn’t rush to embrace the new front-runner.
No, Jack Latvala defended Jim Norman. Not for what he did to win office, because that’s all but indefensible, but for what Norman did while in office.
“Regardless of the issues that he had before he became a Florida senator, he was a good Florida senator,” Latvala said. “And I think he fought for the people he represented and he worked hard.”
Again, you can say what you will — and there’s a lot — about Jim Norman, but it takes more than a little courage to stand up for him, just as everyone else is walking away.
That’s what defines being a good colleague in the Florida Senate.
Latvala’s defense of Norman reinforces my contention that Latvala is now the staunchest defender of the institution that is the Florida Senate.
Whether it be his affection for his colleague Larcenia Bullard, his general belief that conforming bills undercut the legislative process or his insistence that every member get to have their say, it’s Latvala, once regarded as a bully, who is the Defender of the Senate.