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New team at top: Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera joins Scott’s office

by John Kennedy | February 3rd, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott with Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera outside Governor's Mansion

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.

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5 Responses to “New team at top: Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera joins Scott’s office”

  1. C.A. De Liso Says:

    Well he will be in office for a short time. Rick Scott will not be re-elected in November.

  2. Sue Says:

    How stupid does Rick Scott think the people of Florida, and the Hispanics of Florida are by this appointment?

    As already said, this will be a short appointment since Rick Scott will not be re-elected in November.

  3. They tried to intimidate me Says:

    Before anyone starts patting Rick Scott on his back, keep in mind he kept that position vacant for 11 months on purpose. And now, just months ahead of an election, he fills the position with a hispanic man. On a completely unrelated note, the Hispanic population in Florida is 4,223,806 persons or 22.5%, the most populated group after whites. Coincidence? Oh completely, I mean, anyone who can scam $500,000,000 from Medicare and then use $73,000,000 of it to buy the governors seat would never be THAT calculating…… VOTE for the other guy… any other guy.

  4. timtopper Says:

    When Rick Scott ran for governor, he was a multimillionaire former CEO of the hospital company that committed the largest Medicare fraud in history. His company was fined $1.7 bilion for the crimes. When he decided to run for governor and could spend $70 million to buy the election with advertising, a popular comedian said it was an IQ test for Florida. We failed.

    Now, he claims that Charlie Crist was responsible for the economic calamity of the great recession and that he is responsible for the recovery. He could also say that we have been hurricane-free because of him. Scott is not responsible for our country’s improved economy or the weather. Crist did not cause the recession and Scott did not fix it.

    Scott has been on a crusade to turn our hospitals and prison system into gold mines for the kinds of businesses he operates. He has given the auto insurance industry a blank check to steal from us. He has turned his back on us, giving our $51 billion in Medicaid funds to other states and withholding needed healthcare from our people out of work. He wrecked the rail jobs opportunity, wrecked education with firings and program cuts that will take generations to recover from. He continues to try to “purge” people who have the perfect right to vote.

    This will be another IQ test for Florida. I hope we can say “Fool us once, shame on you, but you can’t fool us twice.”

  5. OBIWAN Says:

    Selecting an Hispanic from all the truly remarkable Hispanic Floridians…
    … is a no-brainer. IF a Republican did not have one on the short list with odds running 1 in 4…??

    A Democrat would be saluted for inclusion and celebration or our diversity!

    With GOV Rick Scott…
    …we get a ‘two-for’:

    1. Another four years of an outstanding Governor that has cleaned up the ineptitude of former GOV RINO/DIF Chuckie – burning thru Jeb’s legacy $7 BN Surplus in one mediocre term.

    2. The next Governor of Florida in a fine business background former House Speaker with impeccable credentials for governing our state!

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