DeSan­tis an­nounces picks for ed­u­ca­tion, emer­gency man­age­ment

The Bradenton Herald - - Stay Connected - BY BREN­DAN FARRINGTON

Repub­li­can Gov.-elect Ron DeSan­tis an­nounced Thurs­day he’s tap­ping a for­mer House speaker who backed his pri­mary op­po­nent to be ed­u­ca­tion com­mis­sioner and a Demo­cratic state rep­re­sen­ta­tive to head Florida’s Divi­sion of Emer­gency Man­age­ment.

The an­nounce­ment is a sign that DeSan­tis, who re­lied on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to help him get elected, won’t make po­lit­i­cal loy­alty a pri­or­ity as he fills out his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

For­mer House Speaker Richard Cor­co­ran backed Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner Adam Put­nam in the Repub­li­can pri­mary. DeSan­tis’ cam­paign harshly crit­i­cized Cor­co­ran at the time.

“Con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples don’t mat­ter to ca­reer in­sid­ers, just deals and deal­mak­ing,” DeSan­tis spokesman David Vasquez said at the time. “That’s why we’re not sur­prised to see this cor­rupt bar­gain.”

When told about the state­ment, Cor­co­ran quipped, “Was it from a stu­dio in New York?” That was a ref­er­ence to DeSan­tis spend­ing more time on Fox News than cam­paign­ing in Florida.

The tone be­tween the two shifted af­ter the pri­mary and DeSan­tis praised Cor­co­ran on Thurs­day.

“Richard is known as a no-non­sense re­former whose sole fo­cus has been how best to sup­port stu­dents, par­ents and teach­ers,” he said in a news re­lease. “I know Richard will never stop fight­ing un­til ev­ery child in Florida has ac­cess to a world-class ed­u­ca­tion.”

Cor­co­ran served as speaker the past two leg­isla­tive ses­sions. Like DeSan­tis, he is a sup­porter of school choice and char­ter schools. He helped pass a bill that ex­panded school vouch­ers for vic­tims of bul­ly­ing and to man­date that lo­cal school dis­tricts share prop­erty taxes with char­ter schools. Char­ter schools are pub­lic schools, but they are usu­ally run by pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Cor­co­ran also con­sid­ered a run for gover­nor but de­cided against it and in­stead backed Put­nam, who was con­sid­ered a shoo-in for the nom­i­na­tion un­til Trump backed DeSan­tis ahead of the pri­mary.

Cor­co­ran will still need Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­proval be­fore re­plac­ing Pam Ste­wart as ed­u­ca­tion com­mis­sioner.

State Rep. Jared Moskowitz is one of the most out­spo­ken House Democrats in fight­ing Repub­li­can pol­icy. Moskowitz also helped pass gun re­stric­tions af­ter the Park­land school shoot­ings, a bill that DeSan­tis said he would have ve­toed. The Se­nate will have to con­firm his ap­point­ment to lead the depart­ment that pre­pares for and re­sponds to hur­ri­canes and other dis­as­ters.

Moskowitz is a vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel at AshBritt En­vi­ron­men­tal, a dis­as­ter re­sponse com­pany that has helped re­cov­ery in hur­ri­canes, wild­fires, bliz­zards and the BP oil spill.

Moskowitz read­ily ad­mit­ted he and DeSan­tis have op­po­site po­lit­i­cal views, but said dis­as­ters are not a place for par­ti­san­ship.

“The gover­nor-elect made the de­ci­sion to go with ex­pe­ri­ence over pol­i­tics and he should be com­mended for that,” Moskowitz said in a phone in­ter­view.


Richard Cor­co­ran, for­mer Florida speaker of the house, has been tapped to be state ed­u­ca­tion com­mis­sioner.

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