Jeanette Nuñez, who is poised to become Florida’s next lieutenant governor, plans to play a major role in her boss’s administration over the next four years.
Just ask her.
While Nuñez says she and Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis continue to discuss her duties, it’s clear that Nuñez is going to put her eight years of legislative experience to use.
“I think it’s going to organically sort of formulate as we get further into the administration,” Nuñez said of her upcoming $125,000-a-year post as lieutenant governor.
The role of lieutenant governor has no defined duties, and some past governors have leaned more heavily on their running mates. Current Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former state representative, helped Scott navigate the Legislature back in 2014, but has since had a limited scope of duties.
Scott, who’s headed to Washington, D.C., after defeating incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in last month’s election, snubbed Lopez-Cantera last week when Scott announced he would finish his term as governor and not resign early to be sworn in as Florida’s newest senator.
Nuñez is taking an active role in DeSantis’ transition and currently is lending a hand with the first wave of the incoming governor’s hires. And, despite the recent exodus of agency chiefs, the DeSantis administration says it hasn’t issued any edict requiring current agency heads to submit letters of resignation. Some of the Scott’s current appointees could even remain on the job after the dust settles in January.
“We are in the process of interviewing all current agency heads who have not expressed that they are leaving, or have definitively moved on,” Nuñez said.
Nuñez will play a higher-profile role in the DeSantis administration than her predecessors have under Scott, she indicated during an interview this week.
Nuñez said she and her new boss are focused on her being engaged in “some level of Legislative affairs” with “some agency oversight.”
“He’s really looking for feedback from me,” she said of DeSantis.
Christine Sexton reports for the News Service of Florida.