Barber featured in Ron DeSantis’ reopening message earns spot on state board
John Henry, owner of J Henry's Barber Shop. Image via Twitter/GovRonDeSantis.

John Henry
John Henry of Ocoee received a four-year appointment Thursday, subject to confirmation.

An Orlando-area barber who stood alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis as the Governor prepared to reopen barbershops and salons received a gubernatorial appointment to the state Barbers’ Board Thursday.

John Henry, an Ocoee resident who has owned and operated J Henry’s Barber Shop in downtown Orlando since 1991, sat on a panel about reopening barbershops with DeSantis, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, medical professionals and hair stylists in May. The next week, the Governor’s Office featured Henry in its announcement that barbershops could open for business. In his tweet ahead of the video announcement, DeSantis called Henry a friend.

“We are ready to get back to work and make some money,” Henry said. “But getting back to work, we want to be safe, to continue to wear gloves, wear masks, bookmark appointments and continue to keep the community safe. I know everyone is happy to come out and support the barbershop, and we want to continue to keep one thing in mind, safety is always first.”

On Thursday, DeSantis was in Orlando for the Associated Industries of Florida’s annual conference. Later in the day, he posted a video to Instagram with Henry.

“He’s been rocking and rolling for many months now,” the Governor said. “We’re proud that they’re in business. A lot of people didn’t want them to be, but we believed in them.”

Henry thanked DeSantis and expressed his appreciation.

“It’s an honor, I’ve very humbled and grateful for all of your hard work along of course with Mayor Demings of Orange County,” he said. “I really appreciate the task force for working together to get us to this point.”

While other states have started locking down amid reemerging COVID-19 outbreaks, the Governor has insisted Florida won’t lock down again.

“This shop’s going to remain open here, don’t you worry about that,” he said.

Henry volunteers with the Orlando City Soccer Historic Preservation Board, the Steve Harvey Dreamers Academy and the City District Board of Directors. He is also a PKZ Partner, working to mentor children in the Parramore community.

The licensed barber of 36 years was also a member of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. He earned his barber certificate from the Orlando Barber College.

The members of the Barbers’ Board work with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to meet its mission to “License efficiently. Regulate fairly,” according to the department website. There are about 17,300 licensed barbers and 4,500 licensed barbershops in Florida.

The Governor appoints five licensed barbers and two Florida residents who aren’t currently licensed barbers to the board for four-year terms. The board meets about four times a year for one to two days, plus teleconferences as necessary.

Henry’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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