Gov. Ron DeSantis will keep Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo around for a second term.
Ladapo, who had been on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles, has been a key partner with DeSantis since coming on board more than a year ago. He has been skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines and recently led the charge to convince state medical regulators to draft new rules that prevent doctors from prescribing gender-affirming care for minors.
In a tweet Monday, DeSantis said Ladapo “has done a great job” in his role as Surgeon General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
“His evidence-based principles serve as a counterweight to the increasingly political positions of the entrenched medical establishment, especially on schools, masks and mRNA shots,” DeSantis wrote.
Ladapo has been a lightning rod since he took the job and Democrats opposed his confirmation in the Senate. In October, Ladapo promoted a book he wrote by appearing on a far-right podcast that has shared QAnon-related conspiracy theories. He went on another podcast hosted by an Ohio physician who has promoted the unsupported idea that vaccines cause autism.
This is the first high-profile job for the second term that has been announced since DeSantis convincingly won his re-election bid last week. It is anticipated some top officials may leave the administration by the end of the year ahead of a strict new ethics law that will take effect. That new law prohibits agency heads from lobbying for six years once they leave their job.
Current law only requires top state officials to wait two years before they can lobby their former employer. And there is no ban on lobbying the Legislature.
Meanwhile, two former Chiefs of Staff to the Governor — Adrian Lukis and Shane Strum — as well as Miami lawyer Scott Wagner, will oversee DeSantis’s transition from his first term as Governor to his second.
Lukis is now a partner at the lobbying and public relations firm Ballard Partners, while Strum is president and CEO of Broward Health. Wagner is the Vice Chair of the South Florida Water Management District.
Dr. Ladapo has done a great job as @FLSurgeonGen. His evidence-based principles serve as a counterweight to the increasingly political positions of the entrenched medical establishment, especially on schools, masks and mRNA shots.
Happy to announce he’ll return for our 2nd term! pic.twitter.com/q5ZuyeTiFG
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 14, 2022