Florida’s top business regulator, Halsey Beshears, is stepping down from his post as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) due to “personal health reasons,” according to multiple sources inside and outside the agency. His resignation will be effective January 29th.
The Winter Park Republican is 49 years old and previously represented State House District 7 in the Florida legislature from 2012 through 2019. He had been appointed by Governor-elect Ron DeSantis to lead DBPR in late 2018 and has been at the helm ever since, guiding the agency through one of the most turbulent periods in state history during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Beshears’ leadership role with the agency placed him in constant contact with DeSantis as the state wrestled with the question of opening up bars and restaurants in the midst of the pandemic. Beshears oversaw critical elements of the governor’s plan to reopen the state after the initial shutdown in the early days of the crisis, a move that helped businesses across the state stay afloat.
Upon learning of Beshears’ departure, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) was effusive in its praise, calling Beshears “an outstanding leader.”
“On a personal level, I want to thank Secretary Beshears for his open communication with us and our industry during his tenure and for helping us find meaningful solutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA. “I credit his guidance and approach to the survival of many Florida establishments and will sincerely miss working with him. Our members and our FRLA team wish him and his family all of the very best.”
Meredith Beatrice, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, released to The Capitolist a copy of Beshears’ resignation letter he sent to the governor.
“Governor DeSantis thanks Secretary Beshears for his service to the state and wishes him a swift and speedy recovery,” Beatrice said.
A copy of the letter to the governor is pasted below the full text of Beshears’ email to his team:
Today’s Friday message will be different than all of the rest. Please read this all the way through, as it is a very personal and important message.
For two years now, I have had the privilege of working with all of you in this agency to improve the services that we provide to the working families of Florida. I am thankful for Governor DeSantis’ confidence in me to lead this agency and for his leadership.
Our agency has made so much progress in improving customer service, increasing efficiencies, creating a 48-hour turnaround mindset, and helping Florida‘s citizens get to work quicker and more efficiently. All of this is a result of each and every one of your efforts in striving to make this agency leaner, faster and stronger. For your hard work and dedication, I thank you.
Today, it is with great emotion that I announce I am resigning, effective January 29, 2021, due to personal health reasons. The current leadership team at the agency will manage during this time. We have a strong leadership team in place that will continue operations daily until Governor DeSantis places his next appointee. Your day-to-day will remain unaffected right now. My hope is that each and every one of you will continue the work that we began together two years ago and always keep the 48-hour turnaround mindset at the forefront of what you do every day. Remember people’s livelihoods depend on you and your ability to navigate and solve their problems. This greatly helps them get back to work and make a better life for themselves, their families and their loved ones.
I have said this countless times over the last two years, and I will say it again – thank you to each and every one of you for what you do every day making this agency the state’s greatest agency in state government. It has truly been my honor to serve as the Secretary, and I am confident that the agency will continue to move forward and do great things. Thank you for the opportunity to work together as a team, and I sincerely wish all of you the very best in your future endeavors.