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Quorum Call for Senator Pat Neal of Bradenton

Updated: Mar 29

Post # 314,Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

March 4, 2024

Senator Pat Neal controlled Florida's Budget process during the early '80's of the Golden Age of the Florida Legislature.

Senator Pat Neal and I were elected to the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate on the same days. His district was on the West Coast but he had great knowledge of the state, even though he did not move to Florida (from Iowa) until 1959. His knowledge of the state came from his home-building background--he simply had to know an area well to build his popular homes there.

Pat Neal was a bit of a scholar for the legislature--earning a Bachelor's Degree from Iowa State University and an advanced degree in Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy League. He was a national merit scholar.

In the House of Representatives, Pat was laid back and did not rush into controversies. He had not served in elected office, so he diligently learned the Rules of the Chamber. He served on the important Transportation and Agriculture Committees. He seldom talked on the Floor, but it was apparent he was smart and yet friendly with the senior members.

When Senator Neal went to the senior Chamber in 1978, he became close friends with the Education Chairman Curtis Peterson of Lakeland. That friendship resulted in the later elected Senate President selecting Pat for the all-important Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee in 1983. It was there that Senator Neal made his mark in Florida lawmaking. He took a conservative approach to Florida's budget and worked closely with Governor Bob Graham to craft a forward-looking budget in finance, education, the environment, transportation, and elder services.

Pat was only 26 years old when first elected so he is still young enough today to run for office again. He is now a proud member of the Republican Party, and if I know Pat the way I think I do, he is still an arch-conservative, but very open to bold ideas. Above all, Senator Pat Neal is a man of integrity.



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