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The Florida Senate

Majority Office — Press Release


October 19, 2021

CONTACT: Kinley Morgan, (850) 487-5184

Republican Caucus Selects Senator Kathleen Passidomo as President-Designate

Senator Passidomo to Serve as Senate President for the 2022-2024 Legislative Term

Tallahassee —

The Republican Caucus of the Florida Senate today unanimously selected Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) as the President-Designate for the 2022-2024 Legislative Term.

“In Florida, we are far better off than other states across the nation. That’s because of the strong conservative leadership. Despite the challenges, hardships and heartbreaking losses over the last two years, we’re well on our way to recovery. Florida remains open. Floridians are at work. Students are in the classroom,” said President-Designate Passidomo in her acceptance speech. “The Florida Dream is alive and well, and we’re going to fight to protect it. I look forward to working with each and every one of you in the years ahead. I’m grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me. I will not let you or our state down.”

“Entering public service amid a long legal career in the private sector, President-Designate Passidomo knows what it takes to run a successful business. She also knows that more often than not, success in politics is getting government out of the way of decent, honest people who are just trying to work hard and make a living,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), who presided over the designation ceremony. “Having served in the House and the Senate, and as both Rules Chair and Majority Leader, she knows how to build consensus and will lead the Senate with the same steadfast commitment to excellence she has demonstrated throughout her career.”

“When I think about the legislative process and what makes it so unique and how you can be successful in it, I think about the P’s of The Process – Policy, Politics, Personality, Passion and Perseverance. No one exemplifies how to make the five P’s of the Process work more than Kathleen Passidomo, and that’s why she’s going to make an outstanding leader for the Upper Chamber of the Florida Legislature. There’s no slowing her down. Florida Senate, get ready,” said Senator Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) who nominated President-Designate Passidomo.

Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) presided over today’s ceremony alongside President Simpson and seconded the nomination of President-Designate Passidomo.

“Kathleen Passidomo has mastered the process, and for that reason, she’ll be a great Senate President. But she’s also mastered life outside the process. In her personal life, she has the same strength, compassion and dedication that we see in Kathleen here on the Senate floor. She’s an exceptional wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and friend,” said Leader Mayfield (R-Melbourne), who shared stories collected from family and friends of President-Designate Passidomo.

President-Designate Passidomo was joined today by her husband of more than 40 years, Mr. John Passidomo, who will have the distinction of serving as the first, First Gentleman in the history of the Florida Senate.  Dr. Alfonse Cinotti, 98, father of President-Designate Passidomo, also attended today’s ceremony. Her mother, Kathleen H. Cinotti, passed away in October 2020. Dr. and Mrs. Cinotti were married for more than 72 years.

Other special guests included the adult daughters of President-Designate and Mr. Passidomo, Catarina Passidomo Townes, Francesca Passidomo and Gabriella Passidomo. Carol Cinotti (sister), and Doris Cinotti (aunt) also attended, along with President-Designate Passidomo’s law partners and legal staff from the Kelly, Passidomo & Kelly firm in Naples. The Senate Gallery was filled with many additional friends of the Passidomo family who traveled to Tallahassee for the ceremony. 

The National Anthem was performed by Sergeant David Estes. The Color Guard included Corporal David Schaare, Corporal Erida Caudill and Sergeant James McGilvrey of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

Video from today’s ceremony is available on the Florida Channel. Photos are available for download using the Senate’s Photo Shelter online gallery.

About Senate-President Designate Passidomo

Senator Kathleen C. Passidomo, 68, was elected to the Florida Senate in November 2016 after serving in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2016. Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) appointed her to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules for the 2020-2022 Legislative Term. During the 2018-2020 Legislative Term, she served as Republican (Majority) Leader under former Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).

Senator Passidomo graduated in 1975 from Trinity College (now University) in Washington, D.C. In December 1978, she received her law degree from Stetson University’s College of Law. She built a law practice around Real Estate and Business Law and has been practicing law in Naples for more than 40 years. Senator Passidomo was in the first group of attorneys in the state to obtain Board Certification in Real Estate Law, and her peers elected her to serve as President of both the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association.

Senator Passidomo and her husband John married in 1979. Together, they have three adult children, Catarina, Francesca and Gabriella, and two grandsons, William and Emilio.

History of Women Presidents of the Florida Senate

In 1990, Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami), a former realtor, became the first woman to serve as President of the Florida Senate. President Margolis retired from the Senate in 2016, concluding more than four decades of elected service in state and local government. She passed away on June 9, 2020, at the age of 85.

In 1986, Senator Toni Jennings (R-Orlando), a former elementary school teacher who later ran her family’s construction business, became the first woman to lead the Senate Republican Caucus, serving as Minority Leader during the 1986-1988 Legislative Term. Elected Senate President in 1996, she is the only person in modern history elected to serve two consecutive terms in the role. She later became the first woman to serve as Lt. Governor. President Jennings, 72, retired from elected office in 2007, upon the conclusion of her term as Lt. Governor. She continues to reside in Central Florida.

Presidents Margolis and Jennings were both inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.