perry e._thurston_jr_web.jpgTALLAHASSEE — Members of the Florida House Democratic Caucus elected Representative Perry E. Thurston Jr. of Plantation to serve as the Democratic leader for the 2012-2014 legislative term.

The 39 members of the caucus picked the legislator from House District 93 as their choice for Speaker. He succeeds state Rep. Ron Saunders as Democratic leader.

“In the coming months, we will work as a united caucus to offer commonsense solutions to the challenges Floridians continue to face,” Thurston said immediately after the vote in the House Minority Office conference room in the Capitol.

“We will be the loyal opposition that respects the institution but we will be forceful with our voice for policies that protect middle-class families, the state’s public education system and our dedicated public employees,” Thurston said in a statement issued by his office.

The 50-year-old third-generation Floridian is a graduate of Broward County public schools and Morehouse College. He attended the University of Miami’s School of Law, where he earned a Jurist Doctorate degree in 1987. He joined the Broward County Public Defender’s Office in 1988 as an assistant public defender and went into private practice in 1992, specializing in criminal defense and public finance.

The Democratic ranking member for reapportionment for the 2010-2012 Legislative session, Thurston was first elected to the House District 93 seat in 2006 and re-elected in 2008 and 2010.

He was a leading proponent for the restoration of civil rights legislation and has held several workshops to assist former inmates to navigate through the restoration process.  He has lead voters’ registration initiatives and conducted economic empowerment workshops for local businesses.

He has also spearheaded the resurgence of youth baseball in Broward County’s African-American community.

He is a member of The Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

He is married to the former Dawn Board and they have two children, Alison Thurston and Perry E. Thurston III.