As expected, Gov. Rick Scott turned to a political ally to fill one of the state’s highest elected offices.
At a Monday morning news conference in Panama City, Scott announced he has named former Republican state legislator Jimmy Patronis of Panama City as the state’s next chief financial officer.
“I am honored to appoint Jimmy Patronis as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. As a small business owner, Jimmy has been a successful job creator and has helped grow Panama City’s economy,” said Scott. “I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee.”
As the Capitolist reported for weeks, Patronis was Scott’s first choice for CFO.
Patronis has been a loyal supporter of the governor. He broke from the party’s leadership in 2010 to support Scott in his initial gubernatorial campaign over then-Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Patronis helped his family operate a successful restaurant in Panama City for years before making a bid for the Florida House of Representatives in 2006. He served for eight years in the House before being appointed by Scott to serve on the Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates utilities.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of my family starting a business in Florida, and it has been my honor to be a part of its growth and success for much of my life,” said Patronis. “I want every family in Florida to have the same opportunities that my family had. 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.”
Patronis will succeed current CFO Jeff Atwater who is resigning before his second term is up in order to take a job as vice president at Florida Atlantic University.
“I would like to thank Jeff Atwater for his service to families and for his stewardship of tax dollars,” Scott added. “I will miss working with Jeff, and I wish him the best as he continues to work to benefit Floridians.”
The CFO is one of three cabinet level positions. The position serves as the state’s treasurer and oversees various agencies that serve to regulate insurance and financial industries in Florida.
Atwater will step down from the position on Friday and Patronis will be sworn in the same day.
Patronis won’t have long to get settled in before he’ll have to focus on the 2018 race for CFO if he wishes to keep the seat.
No other Republicans have filed to enter the race. Jeremy Ring, a former state legislator and executive at Yahoo, is the only Democrat to file as of this posting.