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Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, talks on his phone in the hallway behind the floor of the House Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. He had just missed presenting a bill on deregulation of professions and occupations; Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, took his place. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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Ron DeSantis taps Halsey Beshears to be next DBPR Secretary

Rep. Halsey Beshears will serve as the next Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis announced the hire Tuesday. Florida Politics first reported earlier this month that Beshears was under consideration for the post.

“Florida’s trillion-dollar economy is founded on thriving businesses—from the small mom and pop shops to the largest corporations headquartered in the Sunshine State,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“It is vital to our state’s continued success that we streamline the way we approach business regulation and eliminate the bureaucratic barriers that stifle growth.

“…Throughout his distinguished career, Halsey has been a champion for deregulation and, under his leadership, this agency will become the focal driver that will make Florida a premier destination for entrepreneurs and companies seeking to relocate.

“Halsey, a nationally recognized regulatory innovator, is the perfect choice to lead DBPR. I am more than confident that his leadership and expertise will bring jobs, economic growth, and continued success to our state,” DeSantis Concluded

The state agency gig is close to home for the Republican from Monticello, just 25 miles from Tallahassee.

Pending Senate confirmation, Beshears will replace current DBPR Secretary Jonathan Zachem, whom Gov. Rick Scott appointed last year.

In the House, Beshears has chaired the Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee and last month was named by House Speaker Jose Oliva to run the Ways and Means Committee.

“Halsey Beshears is a highly capable leader who has worked tirelessly to unlock more opportunities for Floridians by cutting unnecessary regulations that impede entrepreneurs and small-businesses,” Oliva said. “He is an excellent choice to lead DBPR and I know will he use that passion and expertise well at Florida’s key regulatory agency.”

Beshears, who led incoming First Lady Casey DeSantis on a tour of Gulf County after Hurricane Michael in October, is the latest DeSantis appointment with state House ties.

Lt. Gov.-elect Jeanette Nuñez was the House speaker pro tempore the past two years.

Former House Speaker Richard Corcoran has gotten DeSantis’ recommendation to replace Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, and DeSantis has chosen Coral Springs Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz, to succeed outgoing Division of Emergency Management Director Wes Maul.

Corcoran is also co-chair of the transition team that is helping DeSantis prepare to take office Jan. 8.

Also, Beshears’ brother Thad Beshears, co-owner and chief operating officer of Simpson Nurseries, a wholesale plant nursery in Jefferson County owned by Beshears’ family, is a member of DeSantis’ Transition Advisory Committee on Health and Wellness.

Beshears ran unopposed this year. When he first ran for the House he was chief financial officer of the business, a position he held from 1998 through 2013. He previously served as President of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.

Now a co-owner of Bird Legs Bicycles, which has locations in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, the 47-year-old lawmaker is a graduate of Florida State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and the University of Florida, where he earned a master’s degree in entrepreneurship.

A special election is expected to replace Beshears.

Republicans Jason Shoaf of Port St. Joe and Mike Watkins of Crawfordville had already opened accounts to run for House District 7 in 2020. Watkins has raised $123,707 for his bid to take over the seat, which covers all of Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties as well as part of Leon County.

Beshears also has been involved in “commercial property management, bicycle equipment and sales, and a wholesale agriculture company,” a press release said.
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The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.
Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at dmcauliffe500@gmail.com.

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