DeSantis wants Burgess to lead state’s veterans affairs

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis has announced his recommendation of state Rep. Danny Burgess to serve as the state’s next executive director of Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

If his appointment is confirmed, Burgess will have to resign from his District 38 seat in the Florida House of Representatives.

State Rep. Danny Burgess has been recommended to serve as the state’s next executive director of Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs. (Courtesy of Florida House of Representatives website)

“It’s bittersweet,” Burgess said, noting the appointment “is completely unexpected and not something I sought out.”

But he added, receiving the call from DeSantis regarding the opportunity to serve in the new capacity was humbling, and exciting.

He said he’s delighted to be the one person, in a state of 21 million, that DeSantis wants for the post.

“I’ve worked hard on veterans issues,” Burgess said. This new position will give him greater opportunities to serve people who have served this country, he said.

DeSantis explained his recommendation, in a written statement, according to the Sunshine State News.

“Danny’s commitment to our nation and especially to Florida’s veteran community make him the perfect fit to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“His relentless advocacy for veterans in the Florida Legislature is proof of his commitment to the well-being of our veterans and addressing the important issues they face. I know he will work tirelessly to continue to improve our ability to serve Florida’s veterans, and I look forward to discussing his exemplary record with members of the Cabinet when we convene,” the Sunshine State News reported.

Burgess recently won a third term for District 38, which covers eastern Pasco County. He also is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Before serving in the Florida House, Burgess served on the Zephyrhills City Council was mayor of Zephyrhills.

If Burgess vacates his seat, it will trigger a need for a special election.

The timing of that is not yet certain, said Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.

First, Burgess must vacate his seat. DeSantis then must be sworn into office, which is slated for Jan. 8, and the cabinet has to confirm Burgess.

Once those things, which are expected to happen, happen, Corley said then the new governor would issue an order for a special election for House District 38.

There are about 115,000 voters in District 38. The special election would work like any other election, including early voting, vote by mail, and voting on election day.

“There could be primaries. It all depends on who decides to run,” Corley said.

It’s not unprecedented in Pasco to have a special election to fill a vacancy, after a governor appointment, Corley said.

Mike Fasano resigned from his House District 36 seat after Gov. Rick Scott appointed him in  2013 to become the Pasco County tax collector, after Mike Olson’s death.

That appointment required a special election to fill the District 36 seat in the Florida House, Corley said.

Burgess said he’s aware that Randy Maggard plans to run for District 38.

“He’s a close family friend,” Burgess said. “He’s got my full support.”

Published December 26, 2018

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