Boyd served in the Florida House from 2010 to 2018 and owns an insurance company in Bradenton
Former state Rep. Jim Boyd hopes to return to the Florida Legislature next year, this time as a senator.
Boyd, R-Bradenton, announced Thursday that he will seek the Senate seat currently held by Senate President Bill Galvano, who cannot run again because of term limits.
>> RELATED: Political news
“I kept feeling a pull that public service wasn’t over yet,” Boyd said. “Should I be fortunate enough to be elected, I’m excited and energetic and looking forward to the task.”
Boyd, 62, had long hinted that he was interested in succeeding Galvano in the Senate, and has been viewed as the Senate president’s heir apparent. His legislative experience, deep connections in Southwest Florida and across the state and proven fundraising ability make him an early favorite to win the District 21 seat, which leans Republican and covers all of Manatee County and a portion of Hillsborough County.
First elected in 2010, Boyd held a series of leadership positions in the House — including chairing various committees and serving as majority whip — and took the lead on a range of high-profile issues that were top priorities for a succession of speakers, such as pension reform, campaign finance and ethics issues, an auto insurance overhaul and taxes.
Most recently Boyd sponsored opioid abuse legislation that became law last year. The bill restricted access to pain pills, limiting prescriptions for acute pain to a three-day supply of pills, or seven days if a doctor deems it medically necessary.
“Opioids is an issue I still have a passion for,” Boyd said, adding that the legislation he helped pass has gone a long way, "but that’s something that’s still plaguing our communities.”
An affable insurance company owner, Boyd got his start in politics serving on the Palmetto City Commission. He comes from a family with a political pedigree. Boyd's grandfather served in the Florida House and his uncle was in the state House and Senate.
Boyd attended Florida State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has owned and operated Boyd Insurance out of an office in downtown Bradenton for decades, starting at the company in 1978 and becoming an owner in 1986. His son now works with him as a co-owner.
The business has been lucrative, with Boyd estimating his net worth at $6.2 million on a 2017 financial disclosure form.
That wealth could be useful if Boyd faces a competitive race. He also has proven to be a strong fundraiser.
A political committee controlled by Boyd has $163,000 in cash on hand and has been spending money in recent months, including $5,200 in June to a company called Strategic Digital Services for digital advertising.
No other Republicans have filed to run in District 21, but Brandon Democrat Amanda Linton announced in July that she is running for the seat. Linton, a 32-year-old high school teacher and married mother of three, raised $915 in the second half of July.
Bradenton has produced two Senate presidents in less than two decades. In addition to Galvano, John McKay ran the chamber in 2001 and 2002. Boyd’s connections, legislative experience and history of leadership roles in the House make him a likely contender for leadership positions in the Senate if he’s elected.
“Obviously I’m focused on the race ahead and being elected to the Florida senate, but beyond that, if I can demonstrate leadership that is acceptable to my colleagues and they would choose me to be their leader, it would be an honor and a privilege,” Boyd said.