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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 5, 201312:00 PM EST

Gaetz says Scott's No. 2 needs legislative background

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Gov. Rick Scott should look for someone with experience dealing with the Legislature and state government for his next lieutenant governor, Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, told the Economic Club of Florida on Monday.

Gaetz gave his thoughts on the search for a new lieutenant governor after an audience member asked a question following a speech on education policy.

“This governor, as somebody who’s come from the business community ... I think could benefit from a lieutenant governor who understood the legislative process and the regulatory process very, very well,” Gaetz said. “I think a lieutenant governor like that could benefit this governor.”

The state has been without a lieutenant governor for nearly eight months, after former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned in March, the same day she was questioned by Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials about her ties to Allied Veterans of the World. Dozens of people tied to Allied Veterans were arrested soon afterward, most of whom faced gambling-related charges in what prosecutors called a $300 million fraud.

Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over if something happened to Scott before the position is filled.

Gaetz also appeared to tamp down any expectations from comments by his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, questioning the need for a lieutenant governor in an interview with the Northwest Florida Daily News.

“My understanding is that Rep. Gaetz is not going to pursue his bill,” the elder Gaetz said Monday. “I think he’d like to have his other bills signed by the governor.”

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