Chris Kise joining Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis’ transition team is sure to catch some flak from Florida Democrats. After all, he did represent former Andrew Gillum confidant Adam Corey.
However, there’s a case to be made that it really is just another sign that DeSantis is serious about continuing to build a highly competent and capable team to shape his administration.
Excise his ties to Corey — that’s a big ask considering the October surprise he threw into the gubernatorial race — and it’s clear the Tallahassee lawyer has the chops to be the transition team’s legal counsel.
For starters, he served as general counsel to exiting Gov. Rick Scott’s transition team back in 2010, and before that, he served as Solicitor General — the state’s top litigator — and as counselor to former Gov. Charlie Crist.
He has successfully argued four cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and he has been involved in dozens of cases before the Florida Supreme Court. In short, the Foley & Lardner attorney is highly qualified and will no doubt be an asset to the transition team.
And he’s not the only good pick DeSantis’ team has made so far.
The day after the election, DeSantis hit a home run by naming some of Florida’s most experienced and accomplished leaders, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and former House Speaker Richard Corcoran, as co-chairs of his transition team.
DeSantis scored another run after Thanksgiving when he named Shane Strum as his Chief of Staff, a role he held in the Crist administration, and a move that has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats alike.
And the Governor-elect made it a grand slam when he brought widely respected former House Speaker Will Weatherford on to chair his economic policy advisory committee.
Naming Kise, one of Florida’s most accomplished lawyers, as Counselor to the Transition doesn’t break the streak of good hires, it extends it.
Some will paint this as trickery or cast it as a back-alley deal, but I see a Governor-elect who continues to make smart moves, is methodically adding strength and is building an all-star team to keep Florida moving forward.