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Senate President Bill Galvano began the 2020 Session by honoring the victims of the shooting at NAS Pensacola last month.


2020 Session Opening Day: Bill Galvano honors fallen U.S. sailors

The attack last month left three U.S. service members dead and eight injured.

Senate President Bill Galvano honored the victims of the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola as he gaveled-in the Senate to start the 2020 Session Tuesday.

Last month, a Saudi-born trainee committed the violent attack in what U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr called an act of terrorism “motivated by jihadist ideology.

Galvano named Navy Airman Mohammed Shahed Haitham, 19, from St. Petersburg; Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, 21, from Savannah, Georgia; and US Navy Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Enterprise, Alabama. He also listed the names of those injured.

Barr announced Tuesday the U.S. would send home 21 Saudi military students.

Galvano also delivered collegial remarks on the 60 days to come.

“As we go into session, let us continue to show our constituents that we can exchange and debate ideas while maintaining civility and decorum, that we can problem solve together, that we can put aside personalities and politics for good policy, and, that we are not a microcosm of Washington, D.C., but instead will continue to be an example for Washington, D.C.,” Galvano said.

The Senate President recognized that this Session marks the start of a new decade and will set the tone for the coming years. He asked senators carry out the Session with focus, commitment and hard work.

“For my part, I will continue to do everything I can to facilitate the opportunity for each of you to carry the dreams, goals, and objectives of your constituencies to this process with fairness, respect, and candor, Galvano said. “As I have reminded you before, each of you carries the responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of Floridians you represent, and those microphones on your desk amplify their voices. I respect that.

Before sending Senate messengers to notify the House that the Senate had convened, Galvano left the Senate with a closing thought.

“As stated by Saint Mother Theresa, ‘Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.’”

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering the Texas House of Representatives for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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