After testy exchange, Senate panel votes to confirm State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and others

Joseph A. Ladapo
'For once, stand up and say this man is not qualified to be our top doctor.'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ picks for his health and human services agencies cleared their final committee stop on Monday, with State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo facing nearly an hour of intense back-and-forth questioning from skeptical Democrats.

The final vote was 6-3 to recommend Ladapo with all three Democrats on the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee voting in opposition.

Sen. Tina Polsky gave an impassioned plea to fellow legislators, asking them to vote against Ladapo. She contended his vaccine skepticism is not limited to COVID-19 vaccines and has contributed to growing resistance to all types of vaccines administered to children. She also cited a contentious study he helped author which suggested young men were at risk of heart complications if they received the COVID-19 vaccine. She said Ladapo was a “politician” and “contrarian” who did not take public health issues seriously.

She also mentioned her experience with Ladapo and two Department of Health staffers who refused to abide by her request to wear masks in her office after she told them she had a serious medical condition. Florida Politics first reported the incident, which included a back-and-forth exchange in which Ladapo offered to meet with the Senator outdoors, Polsky asked them to leave, which they agreed to do.

“For once, stand up and say this man is not qualified to be our top doctor,” Polsky, a Democrat from Boca Raton, said to other senators who sit on the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.

Republican senators defended Ladapo, with Melbourne Sen. Debbie Mayfield asserting that Ladapo is not “political” and Sen. Jonathan Martin, a Republican from Fort Myerscrediting him for resisting mask mandates.

“There are many people who have suffered tremendously because of arbitrary and frankly ridiculous rules that were put in place by what we call public health professionals all over the world,” Martin said. “You don’t deserve anything but our praise and thanks … You have 100% of my support.”

The committee also voted to recommend confirmation for Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida, Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Taylor Hatch, Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham and Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. The full Senate is expected to vote for confirmation before the Legislative Session ends.

During his brief testimony, Weida said he could not answer questions surrounding an ongoing lawsuit challenging an AHCA rule that prohibits Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care based on a report it published because he was being deposed as part of the legal challenge.

That statement drew skepticism from Polsky who wound up being the lone no-vote against recommending Weida for confirmation.

“If we don’t have all the information in front of us I don’t how we can vote on a particular candidate,” Polsky said during debate. “I think all of us would agree there is an attack on very vulnerable youth through various transgender legislation and rules by agencies.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Michael K

    April 24, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    A wise leader is not afraid to hire people who smarter than they are.

    An insecure bully hires political hacks who will not speak truth to power. Ladapo is unfit to serve as Surgeon General.

  • Earl Pitts American

    April 24, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Good evening America,
    Once again the 3 Jim Crow era Democrats show their raicest heratige and disrespect the Black man with their attempts to lynch the Black man with their shamefull 3 no votes. Thankfully sanaty prevaled and the Republicans gave the Brother a leg up.
    All dook 4 brains leftists have been keeping the Black man down in the South since plantation days.
    Dook 4 brains leftists are just the worst stain on our Great Nation ever.
    Thank you America and deuces on all ypu raicest dook for brains leftists,
    Earl Pitts ” Friend Of The Black Man” American

    • JD

      April 24, 2023 at 8:38 pm

      Pitts the Shitts, it’s not because he is an African American. it’s because he is a syncophant and runs counter to most of the medical community. Chances are, he isn’t right. And that’s a chance we should not take with public health.

      You’re the only one that should be kept down due to your tired old broken down dumbass comments.

      • Earl Pitts American

        April 24, 2023 at 9:16 pm

        Good evening JD
        Which plantation did your dook 4 brains Jim Crow ancesters own?
        Thank you JD,
        Earl Pitts ‘Friend Of The Black Man” American

        • 23rd

          April 25, 2023 at 12:31 am

          Republicans: “Democrats are the real confederates!”

          also Republicans: “Leave that confederate statue alone! That’s my heritage!”

        • JD

          April 25, 2023 at 1:20 am

          That’s all you got Shitts the Pitts? Attempting to call me racist? My genealogy doesn’t include plantation ownership but owning a plantation doesn’t necessarily equal slave ownership.

          And for that matter, I’m not afraid of CRT. I think it could have merit insomuch it should not be swept under the rug. Are you afraid of the big bad CRT wolf Shitts the Pitts? Lapado is a yes man, making a name for himself by going against the grain. But his against the grain kills people.

          The color of his skin isn’t the issue and you trying to conflate it as such shows your lacking. Go back to the amateur radio hour. Burbank is dead, and you don’t have his style or wit anyway.

          “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.”

      • Della Johnston

        April 25, 2023 at 11:21 am

        He is NOT African American. He is from Africa. This man comes from NO plantation and it shows in his ignorance and disregard for people of color. And You Mr. Pitts are no friend.

    • Todd

      April 25, 2023 at 11:38 am

      The fact is, you’re the only person throwing race into this issue. And you’re the only one using the words “lynch”, “black man”, “plantation days”, etc. It’s very obvious you’re trying to push a narrative that isn’t there, i.e., people disagree with the state surgeon general solely because he’s black.
      In fact, all the reporting on this subject shows that doctors and others who disagree with our state surgeon general do so because he’s misrepresenting information to the public. It has nothing to do with his race.

  • JD

    April 24, 2023 at 8:42 pm

    What’s his salary? $262K a year as a public syncophant, er, I mean servant?

    And people bitched about Fauci at $417K? He was responsible for 330M people, and this ass clown gets more than 1/2 that to be responsible for 21M? Seems like we got a bum deal and he’s running counter to the rest of the medical establishment?

    Hey FloriDuh, how does it feel to be an experiment that didn’t work under and expensive assclown?

    “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.”

    • PeterH

      April 25, 2023 at 12:07 pm

      JD …Ladapo’s total salary package includes a ‘teaching stipend’ with cash perks making his adjusted gross $437K ….. far exceeding Dr. Fauci’s salary.

      • JD

        April 25, 2023 at 5:03 pm

        Thank you for the information. Sadly, that doesn’t make the “deal” seem any better. And that stipend is probably state taxpayer funded.

  • Bert Stimson

    April 24, 2023 at 10:13 pm

    Ladapo is a fraud and an embarrassment to Florida – thanks Ron!

  • Tjb

    April 25, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Florida has the 13 worst Covid death rate on a per capita basis in the USA. Florida Covid death rate is 1.5 times greater than California, a state that DeSantis often mock for having a poor policy towards Covid prevention. Ladapo is a doctor that is mocked by his peers because of his ill informed viewson medical practices. Quack….

  • John Barron

    April 25, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    Sambo Ladapo strikes again! Meatball Ron & Biggie Smalls DeSantis can’t hire help, they can’t field basic softball questions regarding polling results, and they can’t get other republicans to endorse them!!! DeSanctus is tanking like the titanic!!!!

  • Beth

    April 26, 2023 at 6:11 am

    The Floridiots have certainly earned their nickname. Best case scenario is that the entire state sinks into the ocean.

  • Lee Roller

    April 26, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    Dr. Lapdog is a lackey. Period.

    No more. No less.

    He is an embarrassment and a disgrace to the medical profession.

Comments are closed.


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