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Glenn Sutphin appointed state vets’ agency head

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Glenn Sutphin, now the agency’s interim head, will become the next permanent director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet made the hire at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

The 67-year-old Sutphin, himself a National Guardsman for over 30 years, was the only person interviewed for the position out of more than 300 applicants.

He told Cabinet members he wants the state to focus on building more nursing homes for veterans and doing more outreach to let them know what benefits they’re entitled to receive.

More and more service members, when they retire, want to stay or come to Florida, Sutphin said.

“I’ve spent my life helping people in uniform,” he said. “What we have to do is network, so everyone is getting the right information … I don’t mean emails; I mean getting out there and looking them in the face.”

The vote for Sutphin was unanimous by Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. 

He had been chief of staff and legislative affairs director of the state’s Department of Military Affairs since 1999, according to his bio. That department includes the Florida Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

Sutphin was awarded more than “50 medals including the Legion of Merit and the Florida Cross, the highest award in Florida, for exceptional performance in outstanding service and achievement,” the bio says.

The department’s last head, Mike Prendergast, stepped down to run for Citrus County Sheriff as a Republican. He was Scott’s first chief of staff.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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