Ron DeSantis Chief of Staff Adrian Lukis set to exit administration

Adrian Lukis flag
Lukis had intended to announce his plans for departing sometime in early August.

After nearly three years of serving the Governor — first as a Deputy Chief of Staff and then Chief of Staff — Adrian Lukis is leaving the administration, likely in mid-September, with an announcement about the move to come sometime after Labor Day.

The Ron DeSantis administration confirmed Lukis’ plans after Florida Politics first reported his anticipated departure.

“We greatly appreciate Adrian’s leadership, expertise, and service to Floridians. He has been in the administration since the start — first as Deputy Chief of Staff and then as the Chief of Staff for Governor DeSantis, and has held the interests of Floridians at the forefront of what he does every day,” DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske said in a statement.

“We know great things are in store for him and his family, and look forward to watching his next steps as he continues his incredible career.”

When he was asked to take over for Shane Strum, the Chief of Staff to DeSantis who had served for more than two years, Lukis made clear that his time in the most powerful staff position in state government would not be as long as his predecessor’s.

The father of two young kids, the first of whom was born days after DeSantis was elected Governor in 2018, Lukis made a promise to his wife that he would not be one of those political husbands who missed the formative years of his children’s upbringing.

Six months ago, that promise seemed reasonable. But that was before the state ran headlong into the buzzsaw that is the delta variant.

Lukis had intended to announce his plans for departing sometime in early August. But that was delayed by the realities of the pandemic.

Because Lukis’ personnel move is still so freshly decided, there hasn’t been time for him to decide on his next move. Clearly, a former chief of staff, even one who served a shorter stint than others, will be in high demand by law firms and lobbying shops.

“Adrian is one of the best staff members I have worked with in state government,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson when asked about Lukis’ future after his time in the DeSantis administration. “He facilitated great cooperation between the Governor’s Office and the Senate during his time as chief of staff. He was always professional and honest in his dealings.  

One of Lukis’ major accomplishments has been to beef up the operational abilities of the Executive Office of the Governor. He revamped the communications office with the highly respected Fenske as communications director and added two deputy chiefs of staff: education expert Alex Kelly and former Department of Health Chief of Staff Courtney Coppola.

Lukis also led the Governor’s Office through its third — and, arguably, its most consequential — Legislative Session. Lukis also led the Office through a Special Session resulting in the largest gaming deal in the state’s history and response to the recent tragedy in Surfside.

Sources close to the administration also recall Lukis’ central role in the Governor’s environmental accomplishments.

Lukis, the son of prominent lobbyist Syl Lukis, came to the administration from his role as a top adviser to former House Speaker José Oliva. Lukis formerly served as deputy staff director in the Florida House of Representatives and attorney for the House Economic Affairs Committee.

Lukis previously told Florida Politics he developed “an academic interest at a young age” that “developed into a professional passion” for politics.

“I think it also helped growing up in Washington, D.C., and Miami, where politics is difficult to avoid,” Lukis said five years ago when his career began to launch.

Now, as he prepares to leave the Plaza Level of the Florida Capitol, it’s clear Lukis remains on an upward trajectory.

“Adrian has a bright future ahead,” Simpson said.

Among the leading contenders to succeed Lukis are General Counsel James Uthmeier; Dustin Carmack and Justin Roth, both served as Chief of Staff in DeSantis’ congressional office. Also in the mix is Deputy Chief of Staff Alex Kelly.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


11 comments

  • Alex

    August 29, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Surgeon General first, now his Chief of Staff?

    Better late growing a conscience than never.

    • Impeach Biden

      August 29, 2021 at 7:48 pm

      Rats will be leaving the SS Bitanic very shortly, especially after the Kabul debacle.

      • C L

        August 29, 2021 at 9:15 pm

        Wow, what subtle deflection… NOT. Grow a brain.

      • Ddi

        August 29, 2021 at 9:50 pm

        If more of these perfect people, did more to help the best land they live in they wouldn’t have the time to complain. Stay with your friend, instead of Afghanistan, you might be counting your days with Puttin! Think before your remarks! 🇹🇷💅

        • Tom

          August 30, 2021 at 5:54 am

          Alex is a idiot but the warped mentality from two extremists DdI & CL. Can a person just want to leave? Young, young kids and 12 hour days.

          Nothing hurts in wanting some new blood. Inside baseball, means nothing to the peeps. Someone more like Shane needed.

  • Tom Palmer

    August 29, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    It’s great he will be spending more time with his family, but there are probably other parts to this story.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 30, 2021 at 5:42 am

    All the “rats” are running from this chicken with his head cut off Governor Duffus Desantis. Take care. Your children need protection from Duffus Desantis and his disregard for our children’s rights. Lock up Duffus Desantis!

  • PeterH

    August 30, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Adrian Lukis is not just an “anybody” staff working under Governor DeSantis. He is a lawyer with a reputation to uphold. No one can blame him for exiting this Titanic administration with legal quagmires of its own choosing. Good luck to you Adrian and I’m certain you won’t be the last to leave while Ron DeSantis attempts to rearrange the deck chairs on his failed social engineering policies.

    • Tom

      August 30, 2021 at 9:28 pm

      F U both maven & Pete h
      U harasser & stalker.
      DeSantis wins easily,
      Maven be respectful.

      • Maven

        September 1, 2021 at 9:22 pm

        You tell me to be respectful after cursing me out? Hahaha, the cognitive dissonance is real. Also, I always see you defending DeSantis on this site and have to wonder if you are on the payroll. I hope they are compensating you well because Casey is otherwise very difficult to work with. No one comes out of that office unscathed.

  • Maven

    August 30, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    We all know that Casey “Lady McBeth” DeSantis is the one running the show behind the scenes. Whoever gets the role next should enjoy the paycheck and the resume filler because they will otherwise be at the mercy of her whims.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories