FL’s disaster chief, a former Democratic House member, is leaving the DeSantis administration

By: - February 15, 2021 6:20 pm

Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s outgoing director of emergency management, stands to the far right of Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press briefing at the state’s emergency response center on Sept. 5, 2019. Credit: governor’s office

Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s top emergency manager, is leaving the job two years after Gov. Ron DeSantis hired him, citing the difficulty of performing the demanding job while his two young children live hundreds of miles away in Broward County.

DeSantis confirmed the move during a news conference on Monday afternoon, saying Moskowitz has “done a fantastic job” and deserves much of the credit for Florida’s response to hurricanes and COVID-19.

“It’s been two years. He’s worked extremely hard and his family is almost a world away in some respects,” DeSantis continued. “Many of you know, Tallahassee down to Broward, it’s not like you can just hop on a plane all the time and get down there. It’s a long drive.”

(Flight connections between the capital and the rest of the state are notoriously spotty.)

“I told him, I said. ‘They should really make you FEMA director,’ and maybe they will do that some day,” the governor said.

Moskowitz, a Democrat who previously served in the Florida House, explained his reasoning in an interview with the USA Today Network.

“My kids are 7 and 4. When I started this job, they were 5 and 2,” he said. “I’ve been in this job for 50 percent of my younger one’s life,” he said.

Replacing Moskowitz as director of the Division of Emergency Management is the deputy director, Kevin Guthrie, DeSantis said.

“I have a lot of confidence in Kevin. He’s been in the emergency management space for a long time.”

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.