Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club was pleased to welcome as its speaker long-time club member and State Senator Aaron Bean. Bean, who served for eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, was elected to the Florida State Senate in November of last year. He credited his local supporters for uniting to help him win a contentious campaign battle that the political pundits said he couldn’t win because he was from “little Nassau County.” He noted that Northeast Florida is often in competition with Tampa, Orlando and other larger cities for state support, so he believes a regional approach is key to ensuring Northeast Florida’s concerns are heard. He pointed to the formation of the First Coast Legislative Delegation, which brings to bear in Tallahassee the strength of legislative delegates from Nassau, Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, Columbia, Baker, Putnam and Bradford Counties. Bean went on to discuss highlights of the recent legislative session saying that while some 2,990 bills were introduced, only 284 were passed and sent to Governor Scott for his signature. Some of the bills not passed this year, including ones on Internet sales tax, Medicaid expansion and others relating to Federal health care mandates, will likely return in future legislative sessions. Some bills that were passed included the elimination of sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing equipment and a revamping of the foster-care system as well as passage of the state’s $74.5 billion budget. Bean also pointed to several positive factors for the state such as lower unemployment, which is now at 7.1 percent – below the national average – and the ranking by CEO Magazine of Florida as second in the nation for job creation. In closing, Bean said he is confident that Florida has a bright future ahead.