Florida’s new leaders see hope emerging from year of crisis

After a tumultuous national election year in which a virus has gripped the world with fear, Florida’s two new legislative leaders gave a message of hope for 2021 as lawmakers met in a one-day session Tuesday.

It came at a time when President Donald Trump convincingly carried the state and Republicans gained seats in the Legislature. But the message Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls sent was one that seeks to cross a divide.

“When I say that patriotism is about love, I don’t use that word lightly. I would never use it lightly,” Sprowls said. “Real love recognizes that no one is perfect and that we are not simply the sum of our worst moments. We forgive those we love because we can separate the person from the mistakes they have made. That kind of love, when applied to our country, that is patriotism.”

He also encouraged lawmakers to listen with respect to those who have different opinions.

“While I certainly can’t stop anyone from having a tantrum on Twitter, please know that there will be no place for that kind of Washington D.C.-style conduct inside this chamber or in this House. We can disagree and

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