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Democrats pick legislative leaders

Sens. Chris Smith, left, Jeremy Ring and Oscar Braynon listen as legislation is presented on Senate floor. On Monday, Smith was picked as Democratic Senate Caucus leader and Braynon as Senate Democratic whip. File photo from the Florida Senate.

By James Call and Gray Rohrer

Florida Democratic lawmakers selected two Broward County legislators as their leaders Monday. Rep. Perry Thurston of Plantation and Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale will chair their respective chamber's Democratic Caucus. The meeting to elect the two black lawmakers to leadership positions was held in the historic Old Capitol, where lawmakers once debated shutting down Florida’s public schools to protest court-ordered integration.

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