Speaker-designate Jose R. Oliva was unanimously elected Tuesday to serve as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for the 2018-2020 session. Upon election, Oliva delivered the following remarks, as provided by the Speaker’s office:
“Members, it was a spirited and contentious election cycle, but the campaigns are over and we turn our attention to governing. In each of your desks i have placed a blank journal. It is my hope that when your time here is done, it will be filled with an account of your struggles, your challenges and your triumphs. Above all, i hope it will tell of your restraint.
“Members, the powers now entrusted in you are capable of doing great good, they are equally capable of causing great harm. I ask that you judiciously budget your time in favor of searching over acting. For it is only when you have properly searched that you may properly act. And if your search is thorough and sincere, it will reveal to you that more often than not, it was a well-intended person in your capacity who worsened the matter.
“An open and honest search will expose that the power which stood between you and the outcome you most wanted for your state was your power.
“But this revelation should not discourage you. It should energize you to do the things only you can do. To remove the countless and unnecessary barriers to prosperity, to opportunity and to freedom.
“If healthcare access and affordability is your main concern, use your power to lift the government-granted monopolies and market-restricting regulations which have led to widespread price gouging on our citizens and has placed an unsustainable burden on our state.
“If you have come here to ensure every child receives the best education, remove the restrictions which stole the futures of generations of poor children by forcing them to attend failing schools. Members, the parents are the tax payers, the children are their children, use your power to get out of the way of their choice.
“If free enterprise is your focus, tear down the needless state & local regulations which can be easily traversed by the big and powerful, but impossible to overcome by the small.
“If affordable housing is important in your part of the state, speak out against costly planning and zoning decisions and the arbitrary use of impact fees for revenue.
“If we are truly committed to raising wages, we must challenge the endless taking of hard-earned wages through taxes, fees, surcharges, assessments and the like. If you want people to have more, begin by taking less.
“We should do all of these things and more so that we may focus our efforts on those things we can only do together.
“Like protecting our water, our wildlife, and all our natural resources — so that the natural treasure we enjoy and sustain for our lives today will be preserved for tomorrow.
“Like providing for the care of our foster children, our developmentally disabled, and our vulnerable seniors.
“And like providing for the building and maintaining of our public roads, our public works and all our public infrastructure.
“And so our work begins. In this chamber the people’s representatives will debate the way forward. A majority with the obligation to lead and a minority with the right to participate and dissent. Let us remember to honor and respect this institution and one another. And let our debate lean on the strength of our argument rather than the volume of our voice.”