Fred Hawkins will leave Florida House on June 30

The St. Cloud Republican plans to start in July as president of South Florida State College.

State Rep. Fred Hawkins announced Friday will be his last day in the House.

The St. Cloud Republican in May signaled he would need to resign his term early after being named the lone finalist for president at South Florida State College. Hawkins has since negotiated a contract and accepted the job, and has wanted an early July start date.

Hawkins announced on Facebook his exit from the Florida Legislature comes this week.

“It (has) truly been an honor to represent the people of District 35 and the great State of Florida. To get to know and serve with the people that I have the last three years and the friendships that were made has just been incredible,” Hawkins said.

“I can’t wait to see all the great things those serving will continue to do. I’ll still be around Tallahassee, just in a different role.”

Hawkins served as an Osceola County Commissioner from 2008 to 2020, when he was elected to the Florida House. He won a battleground seat in 2020, securing his job in the House by a one-percentage-point margin over Democrat Barbara Cady while seeking an open seat.

The Republican incumbent won re-election to a second term in November with 55% of the vote against Democrat Rishi Bagga.

He thanked colleagues and staff for support in the House.

“So grateful for the incredible staff that I had. I think all of you are the best in the process,” Hawkins posted. “I thank God every day for allowing me to serve in this capacity and for the opportunity that awaits in front of me.”

His vacancy will prompt a Special Election, one of two such anticipated elections for unexpected openings in the Florida House right now. Already, six candidates have filed for the House District 35 seat Hawkins leaves behind, including Republicans Erika Booth, Ken Davenport, Demetries Grimes and Scotty Moore and Democrats Bagga and Tom Keen.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not called a Special Election while Hawkins still held the seat. He also has waited to call an election in House District 103, a vacant seat since DeSantis appointed sitting state Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin as Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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