House Speaker Jose Oliva opined Friday about the need for Gov. Ron DeSantis to have “safe and reliable transportation” after his plane made an unscheduled stop in St. Petersburg.
The governor was on his way from Tallahassee to Broward County, where he was to hold a press conference to announce the suspension of Sheriff Scott Israel over mishandling events that led up to February’s mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“The Members of the House of Representatives are thankful that the Governor’s plane landed safely after reporting mechanical difficulties,” Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican, said in a statement.
Attorney General Ashley Moody, chief of staff Shane Strum and others were also on board Friday.
“Today’s incident, combined with the sheer size of our state, starkly reminds us that we need a safe and reliable means of transportation for the chief executive,” Oliva added.
“The House stands ready to work with the Governor’s office to ensure such transportation is obtained.”
The aircraft that DeSantis is using is a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air seized by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as part of a drug bust.
The previous Governor, multi-millionaire Rick Scott, got rid of the state jet as a cost-cutting move and traveled the state in his private plane.
Updated 6:25 p.m. — Associated Press reporter Gary Fineout tweeted that after the King Air was forced to land, “the state chartered a plane that took (DeSantis) to Fort Lauderdale.”
Fla. governor’s office has acknowledged that after mechanical problems with Fla. Dept of Law Enforcement plane forced an emergency landing in St. Pete the state chartered a plane that took @GovRonDeSantis to Fort Lauderdale for press conference on Israel suspension
— Gary Fineout (@fineout) January 11, 2019
Also, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement:
“As statewide public servants in one of the largest states in the nation, an efficient method of air transportation is prudent to best serve our constituents, conduct state business, and carry out the duties of our offices. Cost-effective and responsible use of state aircraft would enhance our situational response and our availability to the people of Florida.
“I’m grateful that Gov. DeSantis, Attorney General Moody, and all on board landed safely – today’s aircraft incident underscores the importance of dependable transportation for Cabinet members.”