Governor Ron DeSantis continues his takeover of higher education in the state of Florida, in this case, by appointing a board of cronies who appoint another crony.

A Republican politician with no higher education experience has emerged as the lone finalist to lead a Central Florida state college after three other candidates abruptly withdrew from a selection process that has raised concerns about political influence.

Republican state Rep. Fred Hawkins, a close ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, was picked by the South Florida State College District Board of Trustees on Wednesday morning — two days after Hawkins submitted his application and five days after the board voted to lower the education requirements for the position, a move that allows Hawkins to qualify.

Hawkins is still considered a candidate and is scheduled to be interviewed on May 31.

But he is already claiming the job. “Pages turn and new chapters begin. I am looking forward to becoming the next President of South Florida State College,” Hawkins posted on Twitter Wednesday evening.

The seven political appointees on the board of trustees are scheduled to vote for the college’s next president on June 7. Five of the trustees were appointed by DeSantis in 2020.

A side note about Hawkins:

A former rodeo rider, he was arrested in 2020 for impersonating a law enforcement officer. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges, if he completed a diversion program. DeSantis suspended him from being an Osceola County commissioner due to the charges.

The talent pool for college presidents seems to be shallow. That won’t deter DeSantis from his determination to cleanse higher education of WOKE professors.

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