Sen. Latvala Removed as Budget Chief after Sexual Harassment Scandal

Senator Jack Latvala was removed Monday of his powerful role as chairman of the Senate Budget Chief during an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed six women.

As mentioned in Tampa Bay Times, Senate President Joe Negron announced that Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, will take Latvala’s place as budget chairman.

In addition, Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, will take Bradley’s place as chairman of the Senate budget subcommittee on transportation, tourism and economic development.

The women accusing Latvala include Senate staff and lobbyists affiliated with both major parties, who told Politico Florida “they did not want to be identified for fear of losing their jobs, getting a bad reputation in the male-dominated Capitol or running afoul of an influential politician who can kill their clients’ issues.” As reported in Politico, the women report the incidents occurred over several years, and in the privacy of Latvala’s Senate office or in public places like the Capitol rotunda, a bar or an elevator.

Latvala denies ever sexually harassing anyone, and told Politico that in the 16 years of his career he has “never had a complaint filed against” him.