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Scott points to 'breadth of knowledge' in Patronis pick as CFO

26 June 2017, 08:16 | Gladys Abbott

SCOTT KEELER | Times Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott

Former Democratic State Senator Jeremy Ring released a statement on Monday morning saying that Rick Scott's appointment of former State Lawmaker Jimmy Patronis as Chief Financial Officer of Florida won't change the focus of his own campaign for CFO next year.

Governor Scott made the announcement at Captain Anderson's restaurant in Panama City Beach, which Patronis helped his family run.

Lakewood Ranch-based home builder Pat Neal and Sarasota state Rep. Joe Gruters both were believed to be in contention for the CFO job, which became available when current CFO Jeff Atwater announced he will leave the seat before his term expires next year.

Patronis was appointed by Scott to finish former CFO Jeff Atwater's term which run through next year.

Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, was an early political supporter of Scott in 2010, when the governor was a largely unknown multi-millionaire from Naples who was challenging Republican establishment favorite Bill McCollum in a GOP primary. "I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee".

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"The role is to be a full-time officer of the state of Florida", Patronis said. The other Cabinet posts are attorney general and agriculture commissioner. "As Florida's next CFO, I want Florida to be the place where government does its job fairly and predictably so workers can find great jobs at great businesses".

This is one of the most high-profile appointments Scott has had since he first took office in 2011.

A big question is whether Patronis will be able to run for the job in 2018 with no other Republican opposition.

Atwater will step down from the position on Friday and Patronis will be sworn in the same day. The position serves as the state's treasurer and oversees various agencies that serve to regulate insurance and financial industries in Florida.

Bay County Commissioner Griff Griffitts, who has known Patronis since the two were a year apart in elementary school, said the former legislator and his family have given back to the community, which should translate statewide. Under state law, both must agree on the appointment.

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