Gov. Ron DeSantis has filled the last slot on the South Florida Water Management District’s governing board.
Benjamin Butler of Lorida was appointed to a final vacancy on the board. Butler, manager of the family-owned Butler Oaks Farms, has served as director of the Okeechobee Farm Bureau since 2007 and as president of the Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show since 2008.
He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Florida.
DeSantis, during a public stop at Lover’s Key In Fort Myers Beach, noted Butler represents Florida’s inland area.
“We basically have eight coastal folks now,” DeSantis said. “This will be someone more from the Heartland, which is from south Orange County down and a pretty big land mass.”
Butler will represent an area that includes Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee, Orange Osceola and Polk counties, according to the district.
The appointment remains subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
Now every member of the district has been appointed by DeSantis and replaced appointments made by former Gov. Rick Scott.
DeSantis said he was pleased with the makeup of the board.
“I think this is a good step in the right direction,” he said.
Chauncey Goss, chair of the District’s Governing Board, stood with the Governor as his remarks were made.
The Governor’s comments came while he was promoting the new website ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov. DeSantis first announced the site early Tuesday morning in South Florida.
The website compiles data from several state agencies tracking red tide, blue-green algae and other environmental issues.
Environmental protection has become a signature agenda item for DeSantis since he took office in January. Water quality, in particular, has been a focus on the administration.
DeSantis announced the final SFWMD appointment miles from where he announced a commitment of $2.5 billion over four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources.