Rep. Fred Hawkins in line to become President of South Florida State College, potentially triggering special election

by | Jun 7, 2023

  • The Board of Trustees for South Florida State College has selected Rep. Fred Hawkins as the next President of the institution.
  • Hawkins expressed interest in accepting the role and was named the lone candidate under consideration last month.
  • Contract details will be made public if Hawkins accepts the position, and a special election will be held to fill his seat in District 35 if necessary.

The Board of Trustees for South Florida State College selected Rep. Fred Hawkins to serve as the institution’s next President. Though he hasn’t formally accepted the offer as of Wednesday evening, Hawkins previously expressed interest in accepting the role.

Last month South Florida State College, which has campuses in Hardee, Highlands, and DeSoto counties, named Hawkins as the lone candidate under consideration to succeed outgoing President Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, who plans to retire on June 30.

When declared a finalist on May 10, Hawkins said that while the decision was pending a final vote of the trustees — which he received on Wednesday — he was enthusiastic about being the only candidate chosen to move forward in the process.

“Pages turn and new chapters begin,” Hawkins tweeted on May 10.  “I am looking forward to becoming the next President of South Florida State College. My time as an elected official has been a highlight of my life, especially serving in the Florida House.”

If accepted and finalized, contract details will be publicized at the next Board of Trustees meeting in July. An attempt to reach Rep. Hawkins for comment on the matter was not immediately answered.

If Hawkins’ seat in District 35 falls vacant, a special election will be held later this year. Several candidates, including Democrat Rishi Bagga, have filed to run in District 35’s 2024 election, and could potentially redirect campaigns to compete in a future special election.

Hawkins, who resides in St. Cloud, was first elected in 2020 to the previous House District 42, receiving an endorsement from Gov. Ron DeSantis, where he pointed to his record working in Central Florida.

“[Representative Fred Hawkins] works hard for central Florida in the legislature,” said DeSantis. “I’m proud to work with him in Tallahassee to get things done for Florida. I’m excited to fight alongside him this November.”


  1. Frank Thompson

    These politicians need to go get real jobs in the real economy and stop living off the taxpayers. He should not be the only candidate for the job. They should be interviewing other candidates who are actually qualified for the job.

  2. Deborah Coffey

    A special election in a gerrymandered district by Ron DeSantis. Who cares? It’s all The Big Cheat.

  3. MH/Duuuval

    All of Florida’s highly ranked public colleges and universities will soon be run by DeSantis cronies, which won’t help their reputations — though Ron seems happy enough to shower them with additional money to pay for administrator’s high salaries and right-wing indoctrination.

%d bloggers like this: