Gov. Scott appoints first Hispanic lieutenant governor

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Florida’s first Hispanic lieutenant governor on Tuesday.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a Miami-Dade property appraiser, will assume the position on Feb. 3.

Prior to this position, he served in the Florida House of Representatives for eight years. He was also was the House majority leader from 2010 to 2012.

Scott released a statement saying he believes he chose the right man for the job.

“Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be a major part of our agenda to build an opportunity economy in Florida,” he said. “Carlos has two daughters, like I do, and he is focused on how we can transform our economy so we aren’t just creating jobs, we are creating careers and opportunities that will be here for our children and our children’s children.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics account for 23.2 percent of Florida’s population. When asked why he selected Lopez-Cantera to serve with him, he assured the people it had nothing to do with his ethnicity.

“What’s important is to have a great lieutenant governor,” Scott said. “The fact he’s so good is important to me.”

However, Scott did add, “I love the fact he’s Hispanic.”

The position of lieutenant governor had been vacant since March when Jennifer Carroll resigned.

Carroll was the first black woman appointed in Florida. She decided to step down when she was linked to the Allied Veterans of the World scandal. The Internet cafés, which donated to Department of Veterans Affairs’ charities, were not accurately reporting its annual income.

Carroll was later cleared of all charges by investigators.

Scott’s decision came after Tallahassee lobbyist Barbara DeVane filed a petitionwith the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 6. In DeVane’s report, she asked the courts to force Scott to hire a lieutenant governor within the next 30 days.

According to state statute, the governor must appoint a lieutenant governor to serve the remaining term.

“Governor Scott has defied the Legislature’s directive in section 14.055 by failing to appoint a successor to the position of Lieutenant Governor,” DeVane wrote in the report. “The office has remained vacant for more than nine months since Lieutenant Governor Carroll’s resignation and more than seven months since he promised to ‘start looking’ after the legislative session ended.”

Since Carroll’s resignation, Scott had not issued a statement on filling the vacancy.

The governor’s platform since 2011 has been to create more jobs and cut a total of $500 million in taxes. Lopez-Cantera has vowed to assist the governor in make good on his promises to Floridians.

He will also be on the ballot as Scott’s running mate for re-election in November.

“I am honored to have been chosen by Governor Scott to serve Floridians as their Lieutenant Governor,” Lopez-Cantera said in a statement. “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.”