PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA — He oversees a $114.8 billion budget. He has taken on the powerful ESG complex, the international “social credit score” mafia and the Deep State’s censorship organs – all while performing his duties to look out for the rights and due benefits of Floridians.
No, we are not talking about Governor DeSantis – although he’s doing those things as well. We are talking about Jimmy Patronis, the Sunshine State’s chief financial officer and fire marshal.
Patronis’ road to holding Florida’s second most powerful executive office is a winding one. But as we will later see – it all comes back to where it started. At Captain Anderson’s restaurant in Panama City Beach.
FROM COOKING TO POLITICS
Hailing from a Greek family that arrived in Florida five generations ago, Patronis grew up in his family’s restaurant business – and loved it. He went to culinary school, but a keen interest in politics and how things really worked behind the scenes took him to Florida State, an internship with the Legislature, and then a stint in the United Kingdom as a researcher for the House of Commons.
“It was always a given that I would work in the family business, and I love everything about running a restaurant,” Patronis says.
Returning from London, he went back to the pots and pans. But there was something about being able to help on a larger scale that drew Jimmy Patronis back into politics.
“I ran for office and ended up serving in the Florida House for eight years. It was the worst and best years of my life,” Patronis says, adding that this was during the foreclosure crisis of 2008, and he still needed to make sure that the family restaurant was running as it should.
“Charlie Crist was governor at that time, and he made some decisions that probably created a cycle of loss in our state. We were burning through reserves. Then, when Rick Scott got elected, things changed,” Patronis explains.
“I was fortunate to be very close to Rick Scott, and he has been a great positive influence in my life,” he says.
DESANTIS: “LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE”
After his second term ran out, Patronis served on the Public Utilities Commission and did a stint on the Constitutional Revision commission. At that time, then-Governor Scott asked Patronis if he would serve out Jeff Atwater’s tenure as CFO. And later, of course, Patronis was elected to serve with a new governor – Ron DeSantis.
“It’s been incredible to have a front row seat to these two governors doing all they can for our state. DeSantis, well… I call him ‘lightning in a bottle.’ People are attracted to him – both him and Casey – she’s a rock star in her own right. But his leadership has been fascinating to watch,” Patronis says.
He wants to emphasize that Florida is now in a unique and promising position.
“Businesses, entrepreneurs, retirees – people from all over the country are taking their resources and heading to Florida. This has a huge compounding effect on us as a sales tax-based economy. We are in the best financial health we’ve ever been. But we constantly have to protect our reserves and not spend money,” Patronis explains.
“THERE HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY”
At a time when leaders on the national stage seem to have lost touch with the people, Patronis is a key player in shaping the Sunshine State as a new model for America.
“I truly believe that we have a Washington D.C. that’s disconnected from what our citizens are coping and dealing with. They’re isolated from their constituents. But there has to be accountability… The problem with D.C. is that the swamp is just too strong. Like the governor said the other day, we have to break up Washington to make it accountable to the rest of the country,” Patronis argues.
So how is Jimmy Patronis able to stand up to such powerful domestic and global interests, many of which attempt to push their agendas by skipping the ballot box?
“What’s different about DeSantis and myself is that we both came to office in unique ways. He had the support of President Trump, and I had the support of Governor Scott. Ron DeSantis is the one who’s been clearing the road for all of us to be able to stand our ground,” Patronis explains, adding that the governor takes most of the heat.
“But that makes it easier for the rest of us to follow. The governor truly enjoys the fight for good, and as he leads in this fearless way, it gets easier for the rest of us to join in with him. It’s not easy to stare down those challenges, but when you have someone like him behind you – it helps.”
Jimmy Patronis and his wife Katie are going on 19 years, and they have two young sons.
“When you have kids who are growing up in this world, you want to make sure you do your best for them. So that they can live free and happy lives. I know this applies to the governor too. That makes us fight even harder,” Patronis explains.
DOESN’T OWE FAVORS
Patronis is clear where his loyalties lie: with the people of Florida. But as the keen observer he is, he is well aware of the fact that there are forces that try to impact and manipulate politicians as soon as they set foot in Tallahassee.
“Like the governor, I didn’t get elected owing a bunch of lobbyists favors. The only people I owe are the people of Florida. Don’t get me wrong – many of these lobbyists are good people. But it so happens that their agendas don’t always correspond to the needs of the people. And the people of Florida must always come first,” Patronis says.
So, what are the most pressing issues facing Florida, its people and what main issues occupy the mind of our state’s CFO and fire marshal?
“Well, one of my top priorities for the future – and we’re working on this continuously – is to make sure that our state can respond to natural and even man-made disasters. That’s something I feel very strongly about – for us to be able to hit the ground even faster so that we can provide safety and security for our citizens,” Patronis explains.
RECLAIMING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Perhaps one of Jimmy Patronis’ most important achievements is how he – like Governor DeSantis – is reclaiming public confidence in government during a time when most politicians seem to view the people they are supposed to serve as inconveniences or even enemies.
“I actually like to be held accountable, I welcome it with open arms, and I want to make sure people feel comfortable with contacting me and my staff. We are here for you, our fellow Floridians,” Patronis says. “I’m obsessed with solving people’s problems.”
So now we’ve come full circle. Back to the restaurant in Panama City Beach. Because it’s there Jimmy Patronis got the mindset that keeps him going.
“You know, it’s really not that complicated. When you’re running a restaurant, you need to keep your customers happy. Or else, they won’t come back. Now, my customers are the people of Florida. And I know they’re going to tell me loud and clear if I don’t deliver for them,” Jimmy Patronis concludes.