The list of applicants to Gov. Rick Scott for a seat on the state’s Constitution Revision Commission continues to grow, now including conservative lawmaker Matt Gaetz.
The panel, which reviews the state’s constitution every two decades, is scheduled to convene 30 days before the beginning of the Legislature’s 2017 regular session on March 7.
As governor, Scott will choose 15 of the 37 commissioners and selects its chairperson. That means the Naples Republican will indirectly influence the retooling of the state’s chief governing document for an entire generation.
As of late Tuesday, there were 73 names on the list provided by the governor’s office. The newest applicants include:
— State Rep. Matt Gaetz. The lawyer and north Florida Republican trounced six opponents for the GOP nomination for the 1st Congressional District. He’s now considered a shoo-in for that highly conservative area.
— Belinda Keiser, vice chancellor of Community Relations and Student Advancement for Keiser University. She’s served on a bevy of boards, including Workforce Florida and the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges. Scott appointed her to the board of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development agency.
— Frank Kruppenbacher, an attorney with the statewide Morgan & Morgan law firm. Kruppenbacher also has served on a number of panels, including being appointed by then-Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio to the Florida Commission on Ethics. Scott reappointed Kruppenbacher to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which he now chairs.
— Simone Marstiller, a retired judge of the 1st District Court of Appeal. The Liberian-born Marstiller’s long resume includes being a deputy chief of staff and secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation under Gov. Jeb Bush.
— Mary Thomas, former general counsel of the Department of Elder Affairs under Scott. Thomas ran unsuccessfully this year for the GOP nomination for the 2nd Congressional District, losing to Panama City urological surgeon Neal Dunn.
The full list of applicants to Scott is below. The newest names are in bold:
Furst, Jr, William
Mason III, Scott
Mellen III, Robert
Monahan, Jr., Gerald
Patterson Jr, Ralph “Pat”
Robinson, IV, Grover
Smiley, Judge Elijah
The Florida Constitution allows for a “revision commission” to meet every 20 years to “examine the constitution, hold public hearings and … file its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it.”
In addition to Scott, the House speaker and Senate president each get nine picks. Assuming they win re-election in November, GOP state Rep. Richard Corcoran of Land O’ Lakes will be speaker in 2017 and state Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican, will be president.
Republican Pam Bondi is automatically a member as attorney general, and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga gets three picks.
Any changes the CRC proposes would be in the form of constitutional amendments, which would have to be approved by 60 percent of voters on a statewide ballot.
Scott’s application is here. His “appointments will be made no later than March 6, 2017,” his office has said.