Ritch Workman is headed back to Tallahassee.
The former state representative, a Melbourne Republican, was appointed Friday night by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission. Workman replaces Ronald Brisé, who had sought a third term on the board.
Scott also re-appointed Art Graham to the commission and filled the seat left open by the departure of Jimmy Patronis with Gary Clark, the Department of Environment Protection‘s deputy secretary of land and recreation.
Patronis left the panel when Scott appointed him in June to take over as the state’s Chief Financial Officer, replacing Jeff Atwater, who took a similar job at Florida Atlantic University.
Workman, a well-liked former chairman of House Rules Committee, lost a bruising primary battle in 2016 to fellow Republican Debbie Mayfield for Senate District 17.
Early in his legislative career, Workman garnered dubious national attention for attempting to repeal part of state law that prohibits recreational activities that exploit people with dwarfism—an issue involving a ban on so-called “dwarf tossing.”
But he went on to earn a place in House leadership and oversaw that chamber’s version of a $500 million cut to taxes and fees in 2014. The package featured a rollback in vehicle registration fees.
Workman now is the director of business development at Keiser University. His term, along with that of Graham’s, will run through Jan. 1, 2022. Clark will serve out the rest of Patronis’ term to Jan. 1, 2019.
Brisé and Graham were initially appointed in 2010 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist and were reappointed four years later by Scott. The two also served as chairs of the commission.
Both Brisé and Graham also had won unanimous support from the Public Service Commission Nominating Council last month. Workman actually had been nominated to fill Patronis’ seat, as had Clark.
Other nominees sent to the governor include Rich Glorioso, a Plant City Republican and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, who served in the House 2004-2012; and former state Rep. Kenneth Littlefield, a Pasco County Republican who once chaired the House Utilities & Telecommunications Committee.
Littlefield is a past PSC member himself, having been put on the commission by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006. Crist replaced him the following year.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.