As 2018 draws to a close and he prepares for retirement, Senator Bill Nelson is looking back at his long career in office and lamenting what he believes is a loss in bipartisanship in American politics.
At 76 years old, Nelson has not only served as a Florida Senator, but he has also served in both U.S. and Florida’s House of Representatives. With his term ending in January and Senator-elect Rick Scott taking over his seat, Senator Nelson hasn’t “been able to hold my head up enough to look over the horizon” for what’s to come in his life.
Though constituents voted him out of office in the 2018 midterm elections, which was a close race and called for a statewide hand recount, his colleagues praise the sunshine state Senator for being somebody that can work across the aisle.
Senator Marco Rubio, during Nelson’s race against Governor Scott, remarked that he would not be campaigning against Senator Nelson because both of them have had a good working relationship.
Speaking on his time working alongside the Florida Democrat, Rubio explained that he could not “recall a single time in our eight years of service together in which he did anything to harm me or embarrass me or in any way create unnecessary conflict. Our staffs would travel together across the state, and sometimes people would be shocked by it… as if somehow Republicans and Democrats are supposed to be allergic to one another.”
This allergy however is something that Senator Nelson feels is growing stronger as years go by.
Sharing his thoughts on the issue, Senator Nelson described that “the biggest change over the years has been the increasing partisanship. People vote a party first instead of the individual, and that’s dramatically different from when I started in the House as well as the Senate.”
Still, he reflects on his time in office and says that it’s been fruitful.
When it comes to his accomplishments, Nelson details that “it’s an incredibly long list of legislation, but there’s more to it in serving as a senator than just passing bills. It’s serving your people.”