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Ron DeSantis fills remaining openings on SFWMD board

That makes eight picks for nine-member board.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued two more appointments to the South Florida Water Management District.

John “Jay” Steinle,managing director of Lighthouse Investment Society, and Scott Wagner, owner of Wagner Legal, now join the board.

“My administration remains committed to protecting our environment and fighting for clean water for all Floridians and I know firsthand Jay Steinle and Scott Wagner will be dedicated to these goals in their service to the people of Florida,” DeSantis said.

Steinle, of West Palm Beach, holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Vermont. DeSantis’ office touted Steinle’s background in finance and interest in conservation as an active sportsman.

Wagner, of Miami Beach, holds a law degree from the University of Miami. He also attended DeSantis’ alma mater, Yale, as an undergraduate. He’s also a practicing maritime lawyer with an understanding of legal issues facing the water management district, the governor’s office said.

The picks represent the seventh and eighth selections DeSantis made as part of a complete overhaul of the nine-member governing board.

DeSantis in January called on all members of the controversial board to submit resignations. That came weeks after DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast asked the district to delay a vote on land leases around the Everglades.

Shortly afterward, DeSantis named Chauncey Goss and “Alligator” Ron Bergeron to openings on the board.

Last week, DeSantis announced four more picksCharlie Martinez, Cheryl Meads, Charlette Roman and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch — at press events in Naples and Stuart.

The only remaining board members, James Moran and Sam Accursio, have terms that end in March. Bergeron has yet to be added to the water management district board’s website.

DeSantis last week said he wants all new members seated before the governing board next meets.

The board has been a priority for the governor, who was sworn in January and almost immediately committed to spending $2.5 billion on water quality issues.

The district board has suffered withering criticism as blue-green algal blooms impacted the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers around Lake Okeechobee.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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