State Sen. Jack Latvala will be the first legislator inducted into Pasco-Hernando State College’s Legislative Hall of Fame.
Latvala will be honored at a brief ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Alric C.T. Pottberg Library at the College’s West Campus, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. The event is open to the public.
Morris Porton, chair of the PHSC District Board of Trustees, will officiate over the ceremony, which will include the unveiling of a plaque to be displayed in perpetuity in the Legislative Hall of Fame. An identical plaque will be presented to Latvala.
PHSC President Timothy L. Beard will also recognize Latvala’s efforts leading to the construction of several buildings on the college’s West Campus, for strengthening articulation agreements with the University of South Florida, and preserving the integrity of the college’s local service areas.
Latvala, a Republican, represents District 16 (District 20 before redistricting) that covers northern Pinellas County. Latvala first served in the state Senate from 1994 to 2002, when he termed out.
Latvala concentrated on his business interests after leaving the Senate. He decided to run again in 2009 when the state House voted to allow oil drilling within three miles of Gulf beaches. He was elected and has been re-elected since then. Latvala is running for re-election this year.
During his first stint in the Legislature, Latvala served as Senate majority leader and was named as a rising star by the Wall Street Journal. He was also repeatedly ranked as one of the most effective senators in an annual survey by the Miami Herald. He has been named “Legislator of the Year” more than 40 times by a wide range of statewide groups including law enforcement, first responders, environmentalists, business groups, medical associations and educators.
Among his accomplishments: Florida Forever, a land preservation program; creation of Tampa Bay Water, a national model for regional water supply planning; and the outlawing on predatory title loans in Florida. Other accomplishments: passing laws requiring Duke Energy to refund $600 million to customers in Florida; reforming laws prohibiting the bulk purchasing of condos, which required owners to sell for pennies on the dollar; and ending Florida’s last-in-the-nation status of banning 64-ounce growlers which stifled the growth of small microbreweries in Florida.
He is a proponent of reducing taxes, reforming the state’s welfare system, enacting tough consumer protection laws and cracking down on violent crime and criminals. He also wants to improve the state’s educational system by providing sufficient funding for public schools, enforcing accountability in education, and providing opportunities and resources to children and families who need additional support to succeed.
He is the father of state Rep. Chris Latvala, also a Republican.
The Legislative Hall of Fame establishes a new PHSC tradition that recognizes legislators for supporting the college and higher education opportunities for their constituents.
PHSC serves the educational needs and interests of its community by awarding certificates, diplomas, and associate and baccalaureate degrees. As a comprehensive, multi-campus learning-centered institution, PHSC utilizes various instructional modalities and support services. PHSC provides an accessible, diverse teaching and learning environment rich with opportunities for students to achieve academic success and cultural growth in a global society.