Mike Haridopolos

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Mike Haridopolos
President of the Florida Senate
In office
November 2010 – November 2012
Preceded by Jeff Atwater
Succeeded by Don Gaetz
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 26th district
In office
Preceded by Howard Futch
Succeeded by Bill Galvano
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 30th district
In office
Preceded by Howard Futch
Succeeded by Thad Altman
Personal details
Born (1970-03-15) March 15, 1970 (age 47)
Huntington, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Stephanie Haridopolos
Alma mater Stetson University
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Religion Baptist

Mike Haridopolos was a Republican member of the Florida State Senate, representing the 20th District, which included Brevard, Indian River, Osceola, and St. Lucie Counties, from 2003-2012. He served as President of the Florida Senate from 2010 to 2012, presiding over the largest Republican majority since Reconstruction.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Haridopolos was born in Huntington, New York. He graduated from Stetson University in 1992 with a B.A. in History, and in 1993 earned a Masters in History at the University of Arkansas. Later that year, at the age of twenty-three, he became a history instructor at Brevard Community College (BCC), and within three years he was named the Department Chair of Social Behavioral Sciences. In 1997, he was promoted to the Chair of the Liberal Arts Department at BCC. In an unusual arrangement, he was paid $152,000 to write a book for Brevard Community College in 2003. Only one copy of the book was produced.[1]

Political career[edit]

Before being elected to the Senate, Haridopolos was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2001 through 2003. In 2006, he was on the shortlist to run for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of Republican nominee Charlie Crist.[2]

In 2008, Haridopolos declined to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 15th congressional district in order to focus on his coming role as Senate President and his goal to make the Florida Senate more conservative. Republicans gained control of the Senate in 1994. Haridopolos actively supported conservative candidates throughout the state over the last three election cycles.[3]

Haridopolos was sworn-in as Senate President on November 16, 2010 for a two-year term. He presides over the largest Republican majority since Reconstruction.[4] Before being sworn in, Haridopolos made headlines when he removed the doors from his Senate office, making a pledge to be transparent and accessible during his term as President.[5]

Haridopolos is a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus that signs Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes" every year before the Legislature goes into session.[6]

Haridopolos has appeared on Fox News’ Huckabee to discuss Transparency Florida, an initiative he led to put the state budget online. He has also appeared on CNN as a guest of Lou Dobbs and has been featured in Florida Trend magazine as a legislator “...who could shape Florida politics.” He was also recently named by the Hotline as one of six “rising stars” among Republican state legislators.[citation needed]

Haridopolos sought the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in 2012.[7][8] The Washington Post has identified Haridopolos as “one of the state Republican Party’s rising stars.”[9] The Sunshine State News called him “Telegenic and energetic,…a rising star in the party, a relentless campaigner and a bona fide conservative who would draw a sharp philosophical contrast to Nelson.”[10] Haridopolos sought to tie Nelson to President Barack Obama, saying, “Up to this point, he [Nelson] has been lock-step with President Obama. He voted for the stimulus, he voted for the health-care bill … his actions show that he is tied to President Obama at the hip.”[11] On July 18, 2011, Haridopolos released a campaign video stating that he would no longer seek the nomination for the 2012 U.S. Senate seat, effectively ending his campaign.[12]

During his campaign for U.S. Senate, Haridopolos out-fundraised his Republican opponents, raising a total of $3.6 million. His candidacy received a number of endorsements, including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, US Congressman Connie Mack, CFO Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.[citation needed]

Senate President Mike Haridopolos

Conservative Agenda[edit]

Haridopolos became Senate President with the largest Republican majority since reconstruction.[citation needed]

During his first term as Senate President, he oversaw the balancing of the state’s budget which suffered a $4 billion shortfall, without raising taxes or fees. Beyond that the Senate also authorized SmartCap, a constitutional amendment that, if adopted, will place strict caps on government spending, as well as the Health Care Freedom Amendment which fights back against the government takeover of health care.[citation needed]

That same year, the Senate also passed more than $300 million in tax relief, including a measure that effectively eliminates the corporate income tax burden for nearly half the roughly 30,000 Florida businesses that currently pay the tax; reformed Florida’s entitlement programs, including the state’s pension, welfare and Medicaid systems; reformed the state’s education system; tightened regulations on unauthorized sales of habit-forming drugs; and reformed the state’s growth management laws.[citation needed]

The Orlando Sentinel called the passage of these various measures “…some of the most conservative legislation ever passed out of the state Senate...” [13]

During the 2012 Legislative Session, Haridopolos enumerated his goals. The News Service of Florida reported that “…he [Haridopolos] said the three things he wanted to pass, aside from the two claims bills, were the governor's three big priorities: the increased K-12 education spending, the PIP auto insurance reform and the tax cut and economic development package. Adding those three to the claims bills, he was five-for-five.[14]

Defending the Innocent[edit]

In 2010, Haridopolos began to pursue the creation of an innocence commission. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the commission “would study Florida's disturbing practice of imprisoning innocent people.” [15]

The same article noted that “…few [lawmakers], however, make lasting impacts — and life-changing differences. Right now, State Sen. Mike Haridopolos is leading a charge to make such a difference.” [15] Haridopolos did ultimately secure funding for the creation of the Innocence Commission.

In 2005, Haridopolos supported Wilton Dedge’s claim. Dedge had been tried, convicted and wrongfully imprisoned for 22 years. He was exonerated by DNA testing in August 2004. The claim bill, which awarded Dedge $2 million in compensation, passed in the Florida Legislature during a special session in 2005.[16]

In 2012, Haridopolos helped pass two claims bills to compensate victims of government negligence.

One was a claim for William Dillon, who had been wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years. He was exonerated after DNA testing. He was compensated $1.35 million by the Florida Legislature.[citation needed]

The other was for Eric Brody, who suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a police cruiser in 1999. He was compensated $10.75 million for ongoing medical care.[citation needed]

At the close of the 2012 Legislative Session, a News Service of Florida story noted that “Two lives may be changed for the better by the cash, a long-lasting effect of Haridopolos' persistence.” [14]


Haridopolos is married to Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos and they have three children, Alexis, Hayden and Reagan Brooke.


  1. ^ "Senate President Haridopolos got $152,000 to write book with 1 copy | members.jacksonville.com". Jacksonville.com. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  2. ^ Cotterell, Bill. Florida Today. Running mate derby starts. Sept. 11, 2006
  3. ^ Cotterell, Bill (2010-11-17). "Local News | FLORIDA TODAY". floridatoday.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21. 
  4. ^ Vows to work deliberately but will use supermajority (2010-11-06). "Mike Haridopolos Lauds More Conservative Senate". Sunshine State News. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  5. ^ "Haridopolos literally adopts open-door policy in Tallahassee | floridatoday.com | FLORIDA TODAY". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Mike Haridopolos - Representing Florida Senate District 26". Senatormike.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ Catanese, David (2010-12-01). "For Haridopolos, Senate bid more 'when' than 'if'". Politico. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Mike Haridopolos for U.S. Senate 2012". Mike2012.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  9. ^ "Florida Republican Sen. George LeMieux mulling a 2012 bid against Sen. Bill Nelson". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ "Republicans Line Up to Take Down Bill Nelson". Sunshine State News. 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  11. ^ "Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson trashes Obama in private meeting". The Daily Caller. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Haridopolos drops out of U.S. Senate race – Central Florida Political Pulse – Orlando Sentinel". Blogs.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  13. ^ Deslatte, Aaron (2011-07-30). "Mike Haridopolos: Senate President Mike Haridopolos is relaxed in front of critics - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  14. ^ a b "Conventional Wisdom Right, Even in Unconventional Session". Wctv.tv. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  15. ^ a b Maxwell, Scott (2010-04-03). "Will Florida lawmakers help imprisoned innocents? - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  16. ^ "Senate Staff Analysis and Economic Impact Statement" (PDF). Archive.flsenate.gov. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard Futch
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 30th district

Succeeded by
Thad Altman
Florida Senate
Preceded by
Howard Futch
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 26th district

Succeeded by
Bill Galvano