Don Gaetz talks shop about Steve Precourt — and what may happen to casino legislation

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Florida Senate President Don Gaetz re-emphasized his support of Rep. Steve Precourt for the leadership position at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, saying he should not be counted out for the job simply because he is a legislator.

In the state House, Precourt was “deeply involved” in legislative issues that affected the Expressway Authority, including efforts to consolidate the OOCEA with other regional highway authorities, according to Jason Garcia in the Orlando Sentinel.  

Now the Orlando Republican has become one of over a dozen candidates looking to replaced ousted chief Max Crumit as executive director.

If he were to be named to the top job, the term-limited Precourt would have to resign his remaining year in the House.

“I’ve worked with Rep. Precourt. I’ve negotiated with him. He’ s not someone who has developed his interest and his expertise in transportation policy solely as a legislator. This is an area that he truly understands and can contribute to,” Gaetz told the Sentinel.  “I don’t think Rep. Precourt should be discriminated against because he is a legislator.”

Gaetz also told reporters he has the ability to prevent a vote this legislative session on gambling legislation which would allow construction of several Florida “destination resort” casinos. As a Senate president, Gaetz has complete control over which issues get a vote on the floor.

It “depends on how much support the bill has in the body…If it’s a close call, as president of the Senate, I’m allowed to put my thumb on the scale,” Gaetz said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.