Rick Scott appoints political ally as Florida's new chief financial officer

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Today, Governor Rick Scott appointed Jimmy Patronis as Florida' next Chief Financial Officer.

Patronis, who helped his family run a well-known restaurant in Panama City, now sits on the state panel that regulates utilities. The Panama City restaurant owner served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before being appointed by Scott to the state's Public Service Commission. Atwater announced in February he was stepping down early to become a vice president at Florida Atlantic University managing finances and economic development.

Patronis now serves as a commissioner on the Florida Public Service Commission and has been a strong backer of Scott since he first popped onto the Florida political scene in 2010.

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Patronis also backed Scott during his initial run for governor seven years ago. As a small business owner, Jimmy has been a successful job creator and has helped grow Panama City's economy. "I know that he will bring his wealth of private sector experience with him to Tallahassee".

CFO Appointee Jimmy Patronis said, "I am honored to be appointed as Florida's next CFO. Right now I'm just focused on doing the best job I can as the next CFO for the state", Patronis said. But Atwater's support for Scott on Cabinet issues wavered in 2015 over the abrupt departure of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, whose exit was orchestrated by the governor's office.

This is one of the most high-profile appointments Scott has had since he first took office in 2011. The position serves as the state's treasurer and oversees various agencies that serve to regulate insurance and financial industries in Florida. And while Patronis wouldn't commit to running for a full term as chief financial officer, Scott could have a potential friend on the campaign trail in 2018 if, as widely expected, Scott runs for U.S. Senate. But the two clashed previous year over who should become the state's insurance commissioner. Patronis resigned both of those prestigious positions, giving Scott the luxury of making two new appointments. Jeremy Ring, a former state legislator and executive at Yahoo, is the only Democrat to file as of this posting.

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