Fla’s new leadership pairing: Same message, more caffeine — Cuban-styleby John Kennedy | January 14th, 2014
-John Lantigua covered Scott’s appointment of Lopez-Cantera in Miami and filed this report:
Gov. Rick Scott named Miami Cuban-American Carlos Lopez-Cantera his lieutenant governor Tuesday after a long search, but in time for what is expected to be rough 2014 re-election campaign.
Lopez-Cantera is the Miami-Dade county property appraiser, a position he won last year after serving eight years in the state House, the last two as GOP majority leader. Lopez-Cantera could help Scott with the state’s Hispanic voters, and especially in Miami-Dade, which is both heavily Hispanic and Democratic. Scott is facing bruising challenge from former Florida GOP governor Charlie Crist, the front runner for the Democratic nomination.
The announcement was made at the Miami headquarters of the Department of Children and Families, where Scott also announced he will seek $31 million dollars more in DCF funding in the coming legislative session. The two men spoke to a room crowded with DCF employees and the media. Lopez-Cantera, the first Hispanic lieutenant governor of Florida, was flanked by his wife, Renee, and his two daughters, Sabrina, 6, and Sofia, 10 months.
Lopez-Cantera praised Scott for turning around the Florida economy and told that crowd that if voters could have the kind of conversations he has had with Scott “there would be no question about the landslide we are going to have in November.”
Scott was asked more than once about the importance to the GOP ticket of a Hispanic running mate, but refused to frame the appointment that way. Scott instead praised Lopez-Cantera’s work in the legislature and also his experience as a small business owner.
“I chose him because he’s good,” Scott said.
Scott and Lopez-Cantera said their main goal is to achieve tax cuts of $500 million in the coming legislative session.
Lopez-Cantera, like Scott, tried to stay away from the question of his heritage and if that might have played a strong role in his being named, but he did allow himself one aside.
“I think there will be a bit more Cuban coffee in the governor’s office,” he said.