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DeSantis Visits Fort Lauderdale, Names Memorial Healthcare VP To Be His Chief Of Staff

Ron DeSantis
Caitie Switalski
Ron DeSantis made his first public appearance as Governor-Elect at the private Jewish Day School, Brauser Maimonides Academy, in Fort Lauderdale Monday morning.

Ron DeSantis made his first public appearance as governor-elect in Fort Lauderdale Monday morning at the private Jewish Day School Brauser Maimonides Academy. 

DeSantis was in South Florida to finalize hiring his new Chief of Staff. Though his campaign did not announce it until after the school visit, the current Senior Vice President for the Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Shane Strum, will be filling the position as soon as DeSantis is sworn into office on Jan. 8. 

DeSantis and Lt. Governor-Elect Jeanette Núñez were greeted at the Academy by second-graders lining the sidewalk while singing the National Anthem. They then walked into a closed meeting with school officials to discuss continuing state funding for security at Jewish day schools.

In the latest budget, the state legislature approved $2 million dollars to provide security to Jewish day schools, including fences and surveillance system upgrades.

"One of the concerns is, unfortunately, the need for school security, particularly at these Jewish day schools, just given recent events," DeSantis told reporters after the meeting.  "And I'm a hundred percent supportive of continuing that funding."

He cited the lodging rental company Airbnb removing Jewish listings in the region of the West Bank as an example of one recent discriminatory practice. 

"I think AirBnB should re-evaluate and reverse this policy. If they don't do that, then it's going to be rough sledding for them here in the state of Florida," said Desantis, who also indicated he's reviewing how Florida interacts with the company for state business.

The governor-elect also spoke out about mistakes during the election recount in Broward County. He said he would most likely have chosen to remove Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes from office, had she not already resigned.

Read More: Protesters Return To Broward Elections Office As Candidates Vie For Outgoing Chief's Job

"I think it was the right decision," he said of her resignation. "I think it would have been very, very difficult to conceive of any set of circumstances where I would have allowed her to preside over another election in the state of Florida."

Snipes's resignation after 15 years in the office is effective as of Jan. 4, which falls between the end of current governor Rick Scott's term and DeSantis' swearing-into office. 

DeSantis said he will be talking with Scott this week about who will be appointing Snipes' replacement. 

Whomever does take Snipes's position will serve out the last two years of her current term. 

"We need to get someone in there, who's gonna run a problem-free election in 2020," DeSantis said of Broward.

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
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