Florida: Government, Politics, and Higher Education

In 1968, Florida adopted a new state constitution. The governor is elected for a term of four years, and the legislature has a senate of 40 members and a house of representatives of 120 members. The state elects 27 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress and has 29 electoral votes.

The state has authorized the creation of special governing districts that give to commercial entities certain rights usually restricted to elected governments. A special district approved for Disney World in the 1960s allows it to oversee land drainage, and its powers have since been vastly expanded.

Florida has generally favored Republicans in presidential elections. Democrat Lawton Chiles, elected governor in 1990 and reelected in 1994, was succeeded by Republican John Ellis Jeb Bush, elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002. Charlie Crist, also a Republican, won the governorship in 2006, and Republican Rick Scott was elected to succeed him in 2010. Scott was reelected in 2014, defeating Crist (who ran as a Democrat); in 2018 Ron DeSantis, a Republican, was elected governor.

Florida's institutions of higher education include the Univ. of Florida, at Gainesville; the Univ. of Miami, at Coral Gables; Florida State Univ. and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Univ., at Tallahassee; Univ. of Central Florida, at Orlando; Rollins College, at Winter Park; the Univ. of Tampa and the Univ. of South Florida, at Tampa; Florida Southern College, at Lakeland; Stetson Univ., at DeLand; Barry College, at Miami; and Bethune-Cookman College, at Daytona Beach.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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