Garrett Richter tapped to chair Florida Defense Support Task Force

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Senate President Andy Gardiner appointed Senate President Pro Tempore Garrett Richter on Tuesday to chair the Florida Defense Support Task Force.

The 12-member Defense Support board, established by Florida Statute, works to protect and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations. The task force is administered by Enterprise Florida, the quasi-governmental agency that serves as the principal economic development organization for the state.

Richter’s term begins Wednesday, July 1 and will last through November 8, 2016. The Naples Republican is a United States Army veteran who received a Bronze Star in 1971 while serving in Vietnam with the 75th Ranger Company.

Richter represents Senate District 23, which covers portions of Collier and Lee Counties.

“A highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War,” Gardiner said in a statement. “Garrett Richter is a steadfast champion of our men and women in uniform. He understands the impact Florida’s military installations have on our economy and the role military families play in communities across our state.”

Gardiner also appointed former Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Bennett to the Task Force for a term ending July 1, 2019.  Bennett, a Bradenton Republican, formerly represented Senate District 21, which included parts of Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties. He was term-limited out of the Senate in 2012.

Gardiner praised Bennett, a Navy veteran who served several tours during the Vietnam War, as someone he worked with in both the Florida House and Senate.

“I witnessed his dedication to members of our military and their families firsthand,” Gardiner said. “I am confident Senator Richter and Senator Bennett will be staunch advocates for Florida’s military bases in these critical leadership positions.”

Members of the Task Force work with Florida’s Base Commanders to maintain mission capabilities and improve transportation for military bases in Florida. They also help assist installations in meeting Department Of Defense renewable energy goals and strengthen state support for military families and veterans on issues such as education, health care, employment, and family programs.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


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