As he approached the side entrance to the Senate chamber a day after delivering a fiery speech condemning Florida’s high-stakes testing of schoolchildren, Sen. Tom Lee encountered a throng of women holding posters emblazoned with some of his words.
The women squealed, waved and called out their appreciation before cajoling him into posing for selfies alongside the hand-lettered oversized placards declaring “Sen. Lee is right re: testing. ‘…The parents aren’t buying it anymore!’ “
A surprised Lee seemed almost bashful about the praise, demurring that “It was just common-sensical.” But he obliged the group, chatting about a conversation with his daughter, a high-school honors student, as the women lined up for photos.
The exchange revealed a softer side of the former Senate president and was likely one of the lighter moments of the session for the Brandon Republican, who returned to the chamber in 2012 after a six-year hiatus and now holds one of the most powerful positions in the Legislature as the Senate’s budget chief.