New team at top: Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera joins Scott’s officeby John Kennedy | February 3rd, 2014
Carlos Lopez-Cantera was sworn in Monday as Florida lieutenant governor, becoming the first Hispanic in the post and ending a 11-month vacancy in Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.
The ceremony took place in Scott’s office, with the governor and Lopez-Cantera’s family members present. At a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion less than two hours later, Republican Cabinet members and legislative leaders gathered to welcome the Miami Republican, who formerly served as House majority leader and Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser.
Joining Scott’s office as it becomes increasingly focused on his re-election bid this year, Lopez-Cantera was quick to echo the administration’s campaign themes in a brief meeting with state media.
“Very proud to be part of the governor’s team,” Lopez-Cantera said. “Results matter. And his record is something to be proud of. Unemployment down to 6.2 percent from 11.1 (percent when Scott took office), 462,000 new jobs in the state, a state that paid down over $3 billion (in debt). That’s something to be proud of.”
Lopez-Cantera said that with the legislative session beginning next month, he’ll also get to play a role in cutting taxes and fees by another $500 million, which the governor has singled out as his election-year priority.
Lopez-Cantera is a real estate investor, mostly through family-owned Pan American Consulting, Pan American Group and Lopezcantera Holdings.
His net worth has roller-coastered in recent years – with his latest report of $2.3 million down from $4 million in 2012 and up from $1.8 million in 2011.
Lopez-Cantera and Scott haven’t said much about his Hispanic heritage and whether that played a strong role in his being named. But in a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, Democrat Charlie Crist is leading Scott by 8 percentage points — but holds a commanding 52 percent to 26 percent lead among Hispanic voters.
Lopez-Cantera, though, said Monday that he is undaunted by Scott’s numbers.
“Results matter. And when the citizens see that, they’ll realize that this governor has done a great job,” he said.