TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Ten months after Jennifer Carroll left the job, Gov. Rick Scott has finally selected a replacement lieutenant governor who will also run with him for re-election in November.
Governor Scott selected Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera to be the new number two in the state government.
"I am honored to have been chosen by Governor Scott to serve Floridians as their Lieutenant Governor. I look forward to leveraging my experience with small businesses and government tax reform to help further Governor Scott's mission of economic growth and job creation," said Lopez-Cantera, a seasoned lawmaker and deal-maker who has been the Miami-Dade property appraiser since 2012.
Lopez-Cantera is the state's first Hispanic lieutenant governor and the first person from Miami-Dade County to hold the job since it was first established in 1969.
Republicans across Florida have been looking for ways to make inroads into Miami-Dade County and Lopez-Cantera could be a key to unlocking the county's large Hispanic vote.
Lopez-Cantera, called the appointment an "opportunity that could not be ignored, or denied because I'll be representing the entire state."
The 40-year-old Miami Republican served eight years in the Florida Legislature, rising to the position of House Majority Leader from 2010 to 2012. He was elected property appraiser in 2012.
Lopez-Cantera, who was in the real estate business, worked on property tax issues while in the Legislature.
He says that the Scott administration first reached out to him about the position in mid-December and that he doesn't mind if he wasn't Scott's first choice.
"I am confident that we took the right amount of time to find the right person to serve as Florida's Lieutenant Governor," said Gov. Scott. "Carlos' leadership experience will make him a vital part of ensuring the passage of our $500 million tax cut package this year. And his business experience and expertise in cutting taxes and government regulations will support small business growth and success."
Lopez-Cantera will officially take office on Feb. 3.
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