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Governor DeSantis Rounds Out the Team for Second Term

The Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed to the Florida Standard it has rounded out the senior team of agency leadership going into the Governor’s second term.

Jason Weida will serve as Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Weida is currently the interim secretary at the agency, and prior to that, served as AHCA’s chief of staff and Assistant Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Policy. An attorney by trade, he has leveraged his knowledge of the law to support important policy priorities of the Governor, including prohibiting the use of Medicaid dollars on gender reassignment surgeries for minors. Weida has also spearheaded efforts by the Agency to take the strongest regulatory action in Florida’s history against abortion providers. As Secretary, Weida is excited to see through the upcoming Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Procurement, a project he has worked on since he was hired into the AHCA Medicaid program. Weida previously served as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice and has experience working at a global law firm.

Taylor Hatch will serve as the Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). Hatch, currently the Deputy Secretary at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), has extensive experience in workforce development and has been integral in launching First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hope Florida initiative. Hatch previously served as DCF’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency and as the Director of Workforce Services at the Department of Economic Opportunity. With her extensive experience and demonstrated leadership in stakeholder engagement, she will be charged with making sure the Floridians served by APD receive assistance efficiently and effectively.

Governor DeSantis is nominating Laura DiBella to serve as the Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI). Since July, DiBella has served as the Deputy Secretary of EFI and has helped to secure the relocations of several companies to Florida, as well as organizing the Southeastern United States-Japan conference that brought together Governor DeSantis and leading officials from Japan, including Koji Tomita, Ambassador to the United States, along with key Japanese business leaders. Prior to her service at EFI, DiBella served as Executive Director of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association, Port Director of the Fernandina Ocean Highway and Port Authority, and the Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board. She has demonstrated leadership in economic development and will be charged with maintaining Florida’s status as the number one destination in the country for businesses who are tired of high-tax, overly-regulatory environments in other states.

Governor DeSantis is also nominating Freddie Figgers to run the EFI (Enterprise Florida, Inc.) Board of Directors as Vice Chair. Governor DeSantis is designated by Florida Statute to serve as the Chair of the EFI Board of Directors, making the Vice Chair position pivotal in ensuring the board remains focused on the Governor’s economic agenda. Figgers, who currently serves on the EFI Board, is an entrepreneur and Gadsden County native who played an integral part in bringing high speed internet to the Gadsden County area through his telecoms company Figgers Communication. Figgers became the youngest telecoms operator in the U.S. at the young age of 21 years old and personally laid the concrete for his first mobile phone tower and installed fibre optic cables while building his business. Figgers also runs The Figgers Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of education in schools by providing low-income communities with access to technology and health products and services.

In addition to reappointed agency heads that have already been announced by the DeSantis team, a number of other agency leaders are staying on for his second term in office. Agency heads continuing in their posts include Dana Young at VISIT FLORIDA, Josefina Tamayo at Volunteer Florida, John Davis at the Florida Lottery, Pedro Allende at the Department of Management Services, Melanie Griffin at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, James S. “Hammer” Hartsell at the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Jim Zingale at the Department of Revenue.