Only two women on Gov. DeSantis’ task force exec committee to “reopen” Florida for business?

Gov. Ron DeSantis' State of the State Address, with men outnumbering women in the chamber. Credit: Screenshot, Florida Channel

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive committee task force on “reopening” Florida includes 20 men and two women.

That’s it, two women — Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and Attorney General Ashley Moody — in the list of politicians and business leaders trying to jumpstart Florida’s economy following the coronavirus outbreak.

DeSantis had already excluded Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a female, from the group, which created a partisan issue as the state continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Fried is a Democrat.

But given that women outnumber men in Florida — the U.S. Census bureau data show that women make up 51.1 percent of the state’s population — it’s not clear why DeSantis couldn’t have included more women in the mix.

Among politicians, the Florida Phoenix wrote earlier this year that only 30 percent of women serve in each of the legislative chambers –the state Senate and the House of Representatives, according to an analysis.

And when it comes to chairing a committee – a pivotal role – very few women are chosen in these leadership positions, the Phoenix found. When they are, it’s not unusual for them to be chairs in traditional fields, such as education, children and families and health care, the data show.

Here’s the list of 20 men and two women on the committee provided by the Governor’s press office:

Jeanette Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor of Florida

Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer

Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General

President Bill Galvano, President, Florida Senate

Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker, Florida House of Representatives

Senator Wilton Simpson, President-Designate, Florida Senate

Representative Chris Sprowls, Speaker-Designate, Florida House of Representatives

Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Commissioner of Education

Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County

Mayor Dale Holness, Mayor, Broward County

Mayor David Kerner, Mayor, Palm Beach County

John Couris, President & CEO, Tampa General Hospital

Josh D’Amaro, President, Walt Disney World Resort

Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets

Syd Kitson, Chairman, Board of Governors for the State University System

Paul Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Raymond James Financial

Alex Sanchez, President & CEO, Florida Bankers Association

Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light Company

John Sprouls, CEO, Universal Orlando Resort, Executive Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts

Patrick Sunderlin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Joe York, President, AT&T Florida and Caribbean

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.