Unqualified Individuals Appointed to Florida Wildlife Commission

Silencing Science Tracker

Unqualified Individuals Appointed to Florida Wildlife Commission

On December 1, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed two new commissioners to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A third new commissioner was appointed by Governor Scott on January 12, 2018.

The three new commissioners are:

  1. Gary Nicklaus, a former professional golfer, who now designs golf courses;
  2. Gary Lester, vice president of community relations at a retirement development company; and
  3. Sonya Rood, the wife of a former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahama’s, and head of the Florida Republican party.

According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, of the three, only Ms. Rood “appears to have any wildlife management experience, noting in her application [to become a commissioner] that she enjoys bird hunting and has been involved in the management of our family-owned hunting plantation.” The report further noted that:

“Lester’s qualifications for being picked for the wildlife commission included his work as a minister, according to the governor’s spokesman [who indicated that] Lester has served Floridians in various roles for more than 30 years, including as a minister in the Presbyterian Church . . . [and] is an avid outdoorsman.”

The report indicates that both Lester and Rood have made large contributions to the Republican Party and Republican candidates at the state and federal levels.

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