Mitt Romney photo

Romney Campaign Press Release - Governor Mitt Romney Names Florida Statewide Steering Committee

February 07, 2007


Kevin Madden (857) 288-6390

Boston, MA - Today, Governor Mitt Romney announced his Florida statewide leadership team for the Romney for President Exploratory Committee.

"Florida is a dynamic and diverse state - representative of all that is great about America," Governor Romney said. "I look forward to campaigning in Florida and am pleased to have such a strong and growing team in the Sunshine State. Their commitment will make an important difference in the Florida primary."

"I am pleased to support Governor Romney and will work hard on his behalf," said Governor Jeb Bush's former Lt. Governor and two-term State Senate President Toni Jennings. "He is a proven leader who held the line on taxes in his state, held the line on spending and is a can-do conservative with a business background. His fresh, optimistic vision is what is needed for America's future."

Joining Jennings on Governor Romney's Florida team are a number of key political leaders.

Background On The Florida Steering Committee:

Former Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings - Honorary Chairwoman: Jennings served as Governor Jeb Bush's Lieutenant Governor from 2003-2006 and is the first woman to hold the office. A native of Orlando, Jennings began her professional career as a public school teacher and later successfully ran her family owned construction business, Jack Jennings and Sons. She served two terms in the Florida State House, and was then elected to the Florida State Senate - a seat she held for 20 consecutive years. During that time, Jennings served as Florida's only two-term State Senate President. She also served as a Florida Co-Chair for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. Jennings was also named to the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.

Former Speaker Allan Bense - Chair: Bense served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006. As Speaker, Bense worked closely with Governor Jeb Bush. He is a strong fiscal conservative, advocating spending restraint and tax cuts. He was also a proponent of continued education reform, including school choice. A native of Panama City, Bense is active in community and civic affairs. He worked his way up from humble beginnings and became one of the most successful businessmen in the Florida Panhandle. Currently, he remains involved in general contracting and road building work and serves as a member of the Council of 100, Florida Chamber of Commerce Board and the Enterprise Florida Board.

Former State GOP Chairman Al Cardenas - Chair: Cardenas is the former two-term Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. While in this role, he was appointed by the Republican National Committee Chairman to serve on the Executive Committee. He was the first Hispanic to head a major state party and remains the only Hispanic Republican Party Chairman in Florida history. In 2004, he served as Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Florida campaign. He is a regular opinion editorial columnist for El Diario, the largest circulating Spanish-speaking newspaper in America, and has appeared frequently on many English and Spanish TV news programs. Cardenas has represented Florida at every Republican National Convention since 1976 and held positions for both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In Florida, Governor Jeb Bush appointed him to the Board of Trustees of FAMU. He is also a national board member of the American Conservative Union. He was recently named as one of Poder Magazine's Top 50 Most Powerful Hispanics. Cardenas is currently a partner in the Tew Cardenas law firm which has offices in Miami, Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

U.S. Congressman Tom Feeney - Chair: Elected in 2002 to the U.S. House of Representatives, Feeney represents the people of Central Florida's 24th Congressional District. He previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and was Governor Jeb Bush's running mate in his first race for governor in 1994. In Congress, Feeney serves on the Steering Committee of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the U.S. House representing 100 conservative members, and is the Chairman of the House Conservatives Fund which helps elect true Reagan conservatives to the House. Feeney has been a leader for reform and a watchdog for fiscal responsibility in Washington.

Former Speaker John Thrasher - Chair: Thrasher is a former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. While leading the Florida House during Governor Jeb Bush's first two years, he helped pass some of the Governor's landmark reforms, including an overhaul of the State's entire education system. Thrasher serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Florida State University, his alma mater, where he was recently honored by having the new medical school building named after him. He also served as the Florida Co-Chair of the Bush 2000 and 2004 campaigns. He currently serves on the Clay County Board of County Commissioners. Thrasher is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam where he was awarded two Bronze Stars.

Mayor Rick Baker - Co-Chair: Baker serves as Mayor of St. Petersburg, a post he has held since 2001. He is chairman of the Governor's Municipal Mentoring Initiative, Chairman of the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida and is Group Leader to Governor Crist's Growth and Environmental Agency review board. Baker practiced corporate law for 20 years, serving as President of Fisher and Sauls, PA. He also was President of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the National League of Cities School Improvement Task Force. He is a Founder of the YMCA Neighbor to Neighbor Christmas Program and published author on the history of St. Petersburg.

Representative Dennis Baxley - Co-Chair: Baxley is a four-term Member of the State House of Representatives and currently serves as Speaker Pro-Tempore to House Speaker Marco Rubio. He is an Advisory Board Member for the Marion County Children's Advocacy Center and Marion County Children's Alliance. In 2005 and 2006, he received the Christian Coalition of Florida Faith and Family Award. He also is a 2004 recipient of the National Rifle Association Defender of Freedom Award. Baxley is the Vice President/Partner in Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services in Marion County.

Representative Jennifer Carroll - Co-Chair: Carroll was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2003. She was the first African-American female Republican ever elected to the Legislature. Carroll is a highly decorated Navy veteran. She was a Governor Jeb Bush appointee to the Northeast Regional Planning Council and is the former Secretary of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. She previously served on the White House Presidential Scholar's Commission and in 2004 was appointed to the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission by President Bush. Most recently, Jennifer served as African-American Outreach leader in the Charlie Crist 2006 campaign and is a Team Leader for his Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs Agency Review Board.

Dudley Goodlette - Co-Chair: Goodlette is a former State Representative from Naples who served in the House from 1998-2006 representing Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City. As a House Member, he chaired the Rules Committee and Rules and Calendar Council, and was instrumental in leading election reform initiatives following the 2000 Presidential election, statewide domestic security initiatives following the 9/11 attack on America, medical malpractice reform in 2003, and important education initiatives. Dudley has served as President of the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Collier County Economic Development Council, Chairman of the City of Naples Community Redevelopment Advisory Board and President of the Collier County Bar Association. Dudley has received numerous awards for his community service, including Naples Daily News Citizen of the Year.

David Griffin - Co-Chair: Griffin served as Executive Director of the Bush/Brogan second term Transition Office. He also served as Florida's Lottery Secretary from 1999-2003. During his tenure with the Bush Administration, he served as Chair of the Governor's State Agency Mentoring Initiative. Griffin served on the Florida statewide steering committees for the Bush-Cheney 2004 and Charlie Crist 2006 campaigns. Currently president of David Griffin Consulting, he is an attorney and graduate of Cleveland Marshall College of Law and Penn State University. He is immediate past Chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend.

Representative Anitere Flores - Co-Chair: Flores is the State Representative for District 114 in Miami. She serves as Chair of the K-12 Education Committee. Flores is a lifelong resident of Miami and a graduate of Florida International University and University of Florida College of Law. She served as Policy Director to the Education Council in the Florida House of Representatives and Education Policy Chief under Governor Jeb Bush. Flores is currently Director of Community and Civic Partnerships for Florida International University. She serves on the Florida Bar, is a member of the Cuban American Bar Association, was honored as one of the "Outstanding Women of America" and is a member of St. Timothy Catholic Church.

Van Poole - Co-Chair: Poole is a former two-term chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. A former Florida House Member, State Senator, Senate Majority Leader, Pro Tempore and House Minority Whip from Ft. Lauderdale, Poole also served as Executive Chairman of the International Political Leaders Program. He was appointed by President Reagan to the National Advisory Council on Educational Research. He was also a nominee for the United States Senate in 1982 and served in former Governor Martinez's Cabinet. He is on the Board of Directors of Florida TaxWatch and a Board Member of Challenger Learning Center which is part of the FSU/FAMU school of engineering. Poole is Managing Principal with Dutko Poole McKinley.

Mitt Romney, Romney Campaign Press Release - Governor Mitt Romney Names Florida Statewide Steering Committee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives