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Next House Speaker Tackles Spending, Climate Change

September 18, 2019 - 6:00am
Chris Sprowls
Chris Sprowls

Moments after he was formally elected Tuesday to serve as Florida’s next House speaker, Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls waded into issues such as bolstering the state’s finances and addressing climate change.

And he made clear he doesn’t think much of social media and the goings-on in Washington, D.C.

Sprowls, a 35-year-old attorney, will succeed Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, after the November 2020 elections and will hold one of the most-powerful political jobs in Florida. He has long been positioned to become the next speaker, a move that was finalized Tuesday with a voice vote by House Republicans, who hold an overwhelming majority in the chamber.

Speaking to House Republicans, state leaders, family members and supporters, Sprowls outlined priorities that include addressing what he described as a “spending problem” in state government. As evidence, he said the $91 billion budget is growing faster than state reserves.

“We fund our wants at the expense of our needs,” Sprowls said. “We turn policy conversations into revenue conversations. We treat the state budget like it’s our own private charitable foundation to be used for the naming rights of buildings or programs. We can do better than this. We need to increase our reserves and create a new fund for disaster recovery. There is no excuse not to be prepared for the next storm or the next recession.”

While Sprowls followed a long line of Republican leaders in calling for spending restraint, he veered away from many members of his party in addressing the issue of climate change.

“We need to stop being afraid of words like ‘climate change’ and ‘sea level rise.’ Frankly, we do this too often as conservatives,” he said. “We confuse acknowledging a problem with acquiescing to a particular solution. We can recognize that our environment matters without banning our air conditioning or closing our supermarkets or scrapping our cars. Floridians aren’t interested in the utter nonsense of the Green New Deal. But they do want good jobs, clean water and ample, sandy beaches. They want to know we are working on practical ways to mitigate the risks of flooding in our coastal communities. We don’t live in Iowa. We live in a peninsula. We cannot afford to put our head in the sand and hope that the beach doesn’t disappear against a permanent rising tide. We shouldn’t be afraid of facts.”

When Sprowls takes over as speaker, his counterpart as Senate president is expected to be Trilby Republican Wilton Simpson. With Sprowls from Pinellas County and Simpson from neighboring Pasco County, they will bring clout for the Tampa Bay region and will follow recent House speakers Richard Corcoran and Will Weatherford, who were both from Pasco, and current Senate President Bill Galvano, who is from Bradenton and represents part of Hillsborough County.

But during his remarks Tuesday, Sprowls stayed away from local issues. He focused on the Legislature, while also criticizing Washington, social media, newspaper editorial pages and cable news.

“In the worst of times, there’s Washington D.C. A place that lives inside the centrifuge of the virtual world,” he said. “Where every piece of minutiae is dissected, analyzed and recycled by talking heads with the rabid fanaticism of grammarians fighting over the placement of a comma. There are no sights that are more telling or more depressing than a congressional hearing, where senators and representatives go not to listen, not to learn, but to hear themselves talk. The unfortunate erosion of our Constitution has removed most of the checks on federal power. Yet despite near unlimited authority, the federal government seems incapable of real action, unable to solve real problems, unwilling to make real reforms.”

Sprowls compared that with Tallahassee, where, he said, “actions matter more than words.” He described accomplishments in areas such as fiscal stability, higher education and transportation.

“You wouldn’t know any of that if you spent your time on social media or reading newspaper editorial pages,” he said. “But if you stepped out into the sunshine, you know that Florida is a destination --- a place that people want to be, want to visit, want to work and want to live.”


Hey leftists - yeah, just here from making your millions in New York... Climate change is constant - always will be. Volcanos (World-Wide) do more damage than we can even measure. The poor guy sounds like he has some good ideas to make Florida - let's not ASSU-ME that he won't do a great job for Florida.

The last five summers have been the five hottest, ever, in SW Florida, and each one has been successively hotter than the previous one - so we DO NOT NEED MORE HOTAIR from Republican politicos and blowhards in Tallahassee. Cut taxes, deregulate, and prevent abortions - that's ALL the Republicans know!

Raise taxes, add more regulations, and increase abortions - that's ALL the Democrats know!

Just "another lawyer speaks"... And what comes out of his "$500 dollar an hour mouth"?!?... "climate change"! (We're in for lots more "Fat Al Gore public moments" FOLKS...) REMEMBER TO VOTE FOLKS...IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER !

Well finally getting some actual conservatives I see. Cool. ………..Nice talk but actions will count...……….Will he take on the utilities, developers and big Ag?...………...Or will he keep feeding them taxpayer corporate welfare while they pollute?......…….....Fact is changing to a clean energy economy takes those FF $ going out of state and making jobs here...…………. And clean generation costs LESS!!, not more than FF generation while not polluting......…...And you can make your own for 50-75% less than the utility that doesn't have blackouts or a monthly bill. with a 50% ROI/yr for 20+ yrs!!.....…..In fact could get a monthly check for supplying clean power to the grid on demand......……..Is that not as fiscally, morally conservative as you can get?..............Or more corporate welfare, paying them to poison us.? …………...Which to chose?

Your statements about energy are fairyland pipe dreams - total falsehoods. Perhaps technology will one day get to that point, but we're not there now. You've been watching too many cartoons.

My pipe dream is working rather well as I've been doing small wind, tidal replacing diesel generators for 35 yrs......….And I'll be supplying solar generators to others at those prices soon......…….If not for Chump's solar tariffs, I'd already be selling them....…...I'm guessing you don't read the utility industry news or you wouldn't write BS like that?......…. TECO generates solar for $.05/kwh and coal, NG for $.085/kwh...…………..Do the math if you can...…...…….The question is why you want to pay more for them to poison you, your family?......…...Is that a new conservative thing?......…….Or do you want a check from the grid for supplying clean power?......…...…...Which is smarter?...…...…...More conservative?......…......….Which does the Ga Tea Party back?

I will buy solar for my home when the price is cost effective, which it is not yet. It is getting closer though. The fact the next Speaker actually acknowledges "climate change" is scary. I hope he doesn't mean "man made climate change" because that would mean he has not researched the fact that man made climate change does not exist.

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Yeah, man! I L-O-V-E all those Humpty Trumpty cartoons that are on TV every day, all day! Friggin' hilarious!

Did you like the one where Adolph Rodham Hitlary lost the election? Me too!

Another Rep finally admitting climate change and sea level rise are for real. Too bad Trump is boycotting the latest climate accord conference. Even the oil executives and the corporate overlords of the GOP know the days of denial are coming to an end.

Apparently you read a different article than I did. He talked about addressing issues, but not adopting the economy crushing "solutions" that Democrats prefer. There is absolutely nothing that Florida can do to impact "global warming" given that the vast majority of pollutants come from overseas. We'd like to switch to clean modern nuclear (not the 50 year old technology that failed in Japan) but left-wingers won't let us because they live in a fantasy. Democrats are in denial of safe modern nuclear energy.

That is BS. Nuke killed itself by not changing 2 decades ago when it became clear how uneconomical new old generation nukes cost...…… Since 85% of the US is for cost effective nukes, the only ones stopping it is the nuke industry that refuses to change, supply them.…….For the cost of new nukes, Levy Co fiasco, is over $11B/Gw vs $.8B/Gw for wind, $1B/Gw for solar and $B. of battery puts out 4x the power when needed most for the same $...…...…..The smartest thing was canceling Levy Co or would have been tuck with that costly POS.

Very low efficiency, requiring unacceptable fossil fuel backup; uses rare earth metals; large footprint unsuitable for urban areas; relatively short life span with early replacement costs; high subsidies add to base costs; vulnerable to storm damage; difficult, costly recycling; high maintenance costs; difficult grid connections; and cannot match the efficiency, safety, application choices and enormous energy output of modern nuclear power.

How Nuclear Power Can Stop Global Warming

Democrats are in denial of safe modern nuclear energy.


Go nuke! Yea, rah, rah! Heh, heh, heh!

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