Ralph Massullo eyes education in his final Regular Session

'One of the great honors of my life is to serve in the Florida House.'

State Rep. Ralph Massullo is going where no one from Citrus County has gone before: full term.

The Lecanto Republican heads into his eighth and final Regular Session eager to keep doing what he’s done — supporting programs for clean waterways, education choice and the Republican agendas espoused by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his predecessor, now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

“One of the great honors of my life is to serve in the Florida House,” Massullo said.

Massullo, a dermatologist, had no political background when he decided to run for House in 2016. Other than a friendship with former appeals court Judge Paul Hawkes, who served two terms in the House as well, Massullo brought no political capital to his campaign but still was elected to his first term in House District 34 without opposition.

He’s been re-elected easily three times.

“This whole process is a bit of a learning experience,” he said. “Without much political experience, it’s a learning process. The quicker you can get on board … the more effective you can be.”

Massullo said his focus this year remains with education.

“We want to work on deregulating public schools, making it easier for teachers and administrators to do their jobs,” he said.

He supports legislation to ease social media screen time from minors, and a stronger focus on in-school instruction.

“We want all of our kids reading on grade level by the time they’re in third grade, if possible,” he said. “Younger kids don’t do well with virtual learning.”

Massullo isn’t Tallahassee’s biggest name, and he’s the first lawmaker to represent Citrus County in the House for more than three terms since Gene Hodges served 16 years in the 1970s and ‘80s.

He hadn’t planned on serving eight years. Two years ago, Massullo was all set to take on then-state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia in the redrawn Senate District 11. When DeSantis threw his support behind Ingoglia, Massullo insteadran for re-election, where he easily defeated two other Republicans.

Massullo said he’s learned relationships are key to legislative success.

“I’ve always been one to develop relationships,” he said. “Whoever takes my place, I’d want a relationship with them the best I can and help mentor them, if that works out. I want to continue to move the state forward.”

Massullo is backing JJ Grow, who was in the House District 23 race two years ago when it appeared Massullo was moving on. Grow dropped out when Massullo decided to seek a fourth term instead.

Retired Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Cloud, who finished a distant second to Massullo in 2022, is also in the race.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.

One comment

  • Andy

    January 9, 2024 at 3:22 pm

    So, ‘MOMS FOR HYPOCRISY’ can lead them to rape and disrespect women????? Following the Evil DeVos’s

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