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Florida House’s health care policy subcommittee chairs named

Last month, House Speaker Jose Oliva tapped Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues to chair the House Health & Human Services Committee.

On Friday, the chairs of the health care subcommittees were revealed.

Second term Rep. Mel Ponder will take over the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee. Gayle Harrell, who recently ascended to the state Senate, led the committee during the last two legislative sessions.

Ponder works as a real estate agent and is also the president of Business Empowered, a workplace ministry. He has not yet served on a health care related committee, though he chaired the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee under former House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Ponder’s lieutenant is set to be St. Johns Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

Oliva has selected Avon Park Republican Rep. Cary Pigman to lead the Health Market Reform Subcommittee. Last session, Pigman chaired the Health Quality Subcommittee.

The Health Market Reform sub is new for the 2019 Legislative Session, replacing the Health Innovation Subcommittee that was chaired by Tequesta Republican Rep. Marylynn Magar during Corcoran’s reign.

Pigman works as an emergency medicine physician and has held a seat on many health care-related committees since joining the House in 2012. Pigman received his medical doctorate from The Ohio State University. He is also a military veteran who has served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.

Fort Myers Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen will serve alongside Pigman as vice-chair.

Succeeding Pigman as chair of the Heath Quality Subcommittee is Lakeland Rep. Colleen Burton. She has previously served on the committee and has also held a seat on the Health & Human Services Committee as well as the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Polk County Republican was vice chair of the Ways & Means Committee during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions. In the 2017 Legislative Session, Burton was vice chair of the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee under Longwood Rep. Scott Plakon.

Orlando Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia has been tapped as the Health Quality Subcommittee’s vice chair. The man known as “Coach P,” a former teacher, also has been selected to chair the PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee. He also will chair the Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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