Galvano is No RINO

Under The Hood

SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 25, 2020

State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenon, has never been a firebrand. The Senate President since taking the gavel in 2018 elevated civility among lawmakers as a part of his agenda as central as toll roads and low taxes. Basically, he’s not the guy you expect to engage in a flame war on Twitter. 

That’s why it seemed so strange to see Donald Trump, Jr., who covets controversy more than any member of America’s First family (even that one), deliver a largely unsolicited attack on the state lawmaker. But this is politics. What really drove the tiff was a years-old controversy because Galvano, around the time of passage of the Parkland bill, raised money off groups tied to Mike Bloomberg. That irritated the National Rifle Association then. Now that Bloomberg is running for president, it irritates the Trumps.

But the nature of the attack seemed the most curious to me. The presidential progeny told right-leaning pub The Daily Wire, “The last thing Florida Republicans need is a liberal, gun-grabbing Bloomberg minion leading them in the State Senate.” I imagine Florida Republicans who control the Senate and selected Galvano to lead the chamber would be quite shocked if he turned out to be a liberal.

But while the modest notion people selling AR-15s in parking lots should, at the very least, make sure the buyer can legally own the merchandise is debatable, it still seems quite the leap to release Galvano into the RINO preserve.

Of note, Galvano this year also cleared a path for a parental consent abortion bill. This is one of those conservative issues that tend to make it through the House but die in the upper chamber, but thanks to the Senate president, this time the legislation will likely reach the governor’s desk in 2020.

Another bill like that? A ban on sanctuary cities, which until last year couldn’t gain traction in the Senate. Now, legislation sponsored in 2019 by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, has been signed into law.

And while it’s not such a neat fit when it comes to Florida Politics, the pro-business president officer through almost singular will won approval for a Heartland Parkway project. That’s set to revitalize commerce just east of Sarasota and Manatee, surely bringing an economic windfall here. But it also has environmentalists spooked. Galvano has offered assurances state officials will protect the Florida Panther and other wildlife. Still, Galvano’s advocacy arguably puts him to the right of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, he raised some alarms about the panther population just this week.

Those who watched the 2019 Legislative Session know Galvano, without typing a singular caustic tweet, successfully advanced a stridently conservative agenda in Florida despite the Senate having a smaller GOP caucus than seen in years. School choice. Amendment reform. Sales tax holidays. All advanced under Galvano’s leadership.

I promise you this. There aren’t Democrats in Tallahassee who consider Galvano a secret liberal.

Of course, Second Amendment advocates can often be single-issue voters. That Galvano wants gun control measures considered, just two years after the Parkland bill raised the gun-buying age in Florida, upsets a share of GOP voters. And the younger Trump, who likes to pose in social media pics with custom-made rifles and magazines, knows his audience has its share of firearm enthusiasts.

Galvano already issued a statement reminding her supports President Donald Trump over Bloomberg. And maybe the elder Trump isn’t so worried. Remember, Galvano was among a handful of Republican leaders (along with Gruters) invited in December to a special flight on Air Force One to talk strategy with the President.

And I doubt that seat would have gone to a RINO.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA.

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