Gov. Rick Scott made it official Monday, formally announcing former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis will serve as the state’s next Chief Financial Officer.
The announcement, which occurred at Patronis’ family restaurant in Panama City, puts an end to months of speculation about who would replace outgoing CFO Jeff Atwater, who is leaving June 30 for a job at Florida Atlantic University. Patronis, an early supporter of Scott’s, was long believed to be a top contender for the post.
“The biggest legacy you have as governor is the people you get to work with,” said Scott during brief remarks. “I think today is going to continue the Jimmy Patronis legacy of if you … stand up for the right things, if you work your tail off, every opportunity is afforded to you. This is a great day for the Panhandle, and it’s a great day for our great state.”
Patronis served in the Florida House from 2006 until 2014. He spent his final two years in the House as the chairman of the House Economic Affairs Committee.
Scott appointed Patronis to a four-year term to the Public Service Commission in 2015. And earlier this year, the governor appointed Patronis to the Constitution Revisions Commission. Patronis submitted his resignation to the Public Service Commission, and told reporters Monday he had already submitted his resignation to the CRC.
Patronis said was honored the governor selected him for the post, and said he has spent his life trying to give back to his community.
“I truly believe every family that every family, from Pensacola to Jacksonville to Miami to the Florida Keys, should have every opportunity to succeed here,” said Patronis. “That is in my heart, that is what I believe, that’s my commitment to all of you in the room; that’s my commitment to you, governor; and that’s my commitment to the people of Florida. I take this honor tremendously seriously, and I really look forward to serving as your next CFO of this state.”
Patronis will serve out the remainder of Atwater’s term, and could have an advantage over other Republicans if he chooses to run for a full term in 2018. The 45-year-old was tight-lipped about his 2018 intentions, telling reporters in Panama City “there will be plenty of time to talk about politics later.”
“Right now, I’m just focused on doing the best job I can as CFO for the state,” he said.
Patronis will be sworn in Friday during a ceremony in Tallahassee.