Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos, R-Merrit Island, held a press conference in Tallahassee today announcing his leadership team will include Sen. Andy Gardiner of Orlando serving as Senate Majority Leader, and Sen. Mike Bennet of Bradenton as pro tempore.

“My senior leadership team has a tremendous amount of experience serving the people of Florida,” said Haridopolos. “Florida faces serious challenges and we need proven leaders to guide us through these difficult times. I’m pleased to have Sens. Bennett and Gardiner as members of my leadership team, and like me, they’ll have one primary focus — helping get Florida’s economy back on track.”

The News-Press reports:

Bennett served a single term in the state House before rising to the upper chamber in 2002. The 65-year-old electrical contractor is a consistent conservative on fiscal and social issues. The U.S. Navy veteran pulled four tours in Vietnam. He’s straightforward, sometimes even gruff — qualities that will come in handy as Haridopolos’s president pro tem.

“He has the respect of the entire Senate and is known for bringing a common-sense business approach to government. I trust and value his counsel,” Haridopolos said in a statement. …

Gardiner first was elected to the Senate in 2008 after an eight-year tenure in the state House. The 41-year-old Orlando native had the same job during his time in the lower chamber. He’ll serve as enforcer in a Senate with a powerful 28-12 Republican majority.

During the 2010 legislative session, Gardiner sponsored a piece of controversial anti-abortion legislation that was vetoed by Gov. Crist. The law would have required pregnant women to view a sonogram of the fetus before they could move forward with an abortion.

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