TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis is turning to legislators on opposite sides of the political spectrum to fill two of the most high-profile positions in his administration.
- Richard Corcoran, charter, school advocate, tapped for education commissioner
- Jared Moskowitz tapped for emergency management director
- Republican Corcoran just left the Florida House Speaker position
- Democrat Moskowitz is currently a Florida representative
On Thursday, DeSantis announced his choice to serve as education commissioner: Republican Richard Corcoran, the just-departed Republican speaker of the Florida House whose tenure was marked by an aggressive drive to give privately-run charter schools more money and power to compete with traditional public schools.
In a statement, former Gov. Jeb Bush applauded DeSantis' decision.
"Richard will fearlessly challenge the entrenched status quo to ensure that every student has access to a high quality education. He is a champion of high-quality teaching and parent empowerment, and is a passionate advocate for expanding opportunity, specially for children most at risk," Bush wrote.
The state teacher union, however, is taking a different view of the nomination. When Corcoran's name first surfaced last week as a top prospect for the education commissioner role, the Florida Education Association mounted a #StopCorcoran campaign on its social media accounts.
Corcoran is "an individual dedicated to using public tax dollars for private or for-profit ed," the union warned its members.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is appointing state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, to serve as Florida's next emergency management director. The selection is more than just an extension of a bipartisan olive branch: Moskowitz is vice president and general counsel of AshBritt, a storm debris recovery firm, and has extensive experience in Florida's unique hurricane response arena.
Gov. Rick Scott has been criticized by members of both parties for tapping a former campaign travel aide, Wes Maul, to serve as the state's current emergency management director. Aware of the controversy, Gov.-elect DeSantis' advisors have worked to find an unassailable pick.
The Moskowitz selection is "proof that even when we disagree strongly on some things, we are on the same page to have the best disaster response Florida can offer," U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Ft. Walton Beach, a senior DeSantis transition advisor, wrote on Twitter Thursday night.