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Despite Democrat pushback Ladapo now has Senate approval to continue as Florida's top doctor

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo wears a black suit, white shirt and maroon tie. He is standing and gesturing while a hand holds a microphone toward him.
Brendan Farrington
/
AP
Dr. Joseph Ladapo speaks with reporters after the Florida Senate confirmed his appointment as the state's surgeon general on Feb. 23, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo received confirmation from the full Senate Wednesday.

Ladapo, who was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis has faced controversy because of his stance on vaccines and masking throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

During a recent committee hearing, Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton) said she “can’t believe” there’s not a better candidate for the state’s top doctor.

“This candidate has not been recommended by his prior employer, is part of a right-wing anti-science fringe medical group, does not have public health experience, and has turned his position political," Polsky said.

Democrats have voiced frustrations during Ladapo’s confirmation committee hearings, saying they felt he wasn’t giving clear answers. During one committee stop Senators left the room and abstained from voting because of that frustration. But Sen. Doug Broxon (R-Pensacola) says he thinks Ladapo was treated unfairly and he says he has confidence in his ability.

“I believe to the best of your knowledge you’ve expressed what you know and I am very proud that you’re the doctor of the state and frankly I think most Floridians, if they’ve heard this testimony and have heard your expanded answers, they would agree with me," Broxon said.

Florida’s surgeon general also serves as the secretary of the state Department of Health.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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