Gaetz says he could have used ‘different word’ about Latvia

A week after a 17-minute floor speech that included describing Sen. Jack Latvala as a “bully,” Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, expressed regret Wednesday about his characterization of the Clearwater Republican. Gaetz, a former Senate president, addressed the issue briefly at the end of a floor session on redistricting.

“As I concluded my point of personal privilege last Wednesday, I could have chosen a different word, I could have chosen a better word to describe the actions of a fellow senator,” Gaetz said. “The senator of the 20th (District), Sen. Latvala, and I have met together. We have spoken very frankly to each other, and I have shared these same sentiments with him.”

Senate President Andy Gardiner then recognized Latvala, who said simply, “I just want to thank Sen. Gaetz.”

Gaetz walked back to Latvala’s desk on the Senate floor, and the pair quickly shook hands. Gaetz did not specifically say he was referring to the bully comment, but that part of his floor speech last week upset other senators and drew retorts from Latvala. Gaetz’s highly unusual speech Oct. 28 came in response to Latvala publicly criticizing Gaetz’s handling of the 2012 redistricting process.

“I take no satisfaction from this exchange,” Gaetz said during last week’s speech. “I did not seek it. But when a bully throws a sucker punch, you hit back and never give in.” Latvala later responded by saying, “Take a secret-ballot vote on who’s the biggest bully — me or him.”

source: The News Service of Florida