Women’s History Month

Jennifer Bradley steering her own path through Florida Senate

Don Coble
Posted 3/27/21

The transition following Jennifer Bradley’s election to the Florida Senate was smooth.

In fact, workers didn’t even have to change the name on the door.

And while Jennifer succeeded …

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Women’s History Month

Jennifer Bradley steering her own path through Florida Senate

Posted

The transition following Jennifer Bradley’s election to the Florida Senate was smooth.

In fact, workers didn’t even have to change the name on the door.

And while Jennifer succeeded her husband, Rob, to represent District 5 in Tallahassee, she clearly brings her own perspective and agenda.

Because of her husband, she knows how things get done in the Senate. But she is following her own instincts and knowledge to represent the people of an 11-county swath across Northeast Florida.

“There’s definitely a sense of familiarity coming in with my background,” Bradley said between committee meetings Tuesday afternoon. “Rob and I are both conservative Republicans, but how we prioritize our time and the issues we care about personally are going to be different, like any two people. When facing a whole host of issues affecting the state, what we chose to focus on and where you think you can make a difference is different, like very senator.”

Bradley is part of a nationwide wave of women who’ve become influential in local, state and national politics. Of the 20 Florida Senators elected last November, nine were women. Fifteen of the 40 current state senators are women. In fact, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee is Kellie Stargel. The Majority Leader is Debbie Mayfield, and the Rules Leader is Kathleen Passidomo.

There are a lot of great women leaders in numbers that we really haven’t seen before locally, and even on the state level,” Bradley said. “Those are some of the most-powerful positions in the chamber. It speaks to our Senate president and to the fact the process is where those women rose to the top, based on their abilities and their talents. They’re serving the body tremendously.”

Bradley said women have a different perspective of everyday challenges. Women are largely responsible for child care, budget and scheduling issues inside the home. And it’s one reason why it’s no longer unique for a woman to become a public servant.

“That’s the sense I get. I hope every vote that was cast for me was one where the voter made the decision that I’d be the best candidate; I would be the best leader for our area and it wouldn’t have been because I’m a woman,” she said. “Now I think that makes me a strong leader. It gives me a valuable background and perspective that I can bring to the process. There are a lot of great women leaders in numbers that we really haven’t seen before locally, and even on the state level. I can tell you in the Florida Senate, our appropriations leader, our majority leader and our rules leader are all women. Those are some of the most-powerful positions in the chamber. It speaks to our Senate president and to the fact the process is where those women rose to the top, based on their abilities and their talents. They’re serving the body tremendously.”

It didn’t take long for Bradley to make an impact. She presented a data privacy bill that would give consumers the right to control how their personal online data is shared and sold. The bill, which was championed in the House by Fiona McFarland, cleared the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill requires businesses to publish a privacy policy, and if asked, it forces companies to tell customers what information has been collected on them.

“I filed the data privacy bill because as the one runs those issues at home, I see that through a different lens,” she said. “On consumer issues, on education, on workforce issues, it may not be an issue that affected me personally but maybe my circle of friends – parents on my kids’ sports teams. I think you’re a stronger leader when you can understand the challenges that all different kinds of groups have. I think that women are in some different circles by their life experiences. I think that comes through at the table.”

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