Senate President Enters CFO Race
Atwater becomes first candidate to be next Fla. chief financial officer.
By BILL KACZOR
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:56 a.m.
TALAHASSEE | Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater is the first candidate to enter the race for chief financial officer.
It is one of two statewide Cabinet seats that have opened due to the domino effect of Gov. Charlie Crist’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate instead of seeking re-election.
Atwater, a Republican banker from North Palm Beach, made his announcement Tuesday, a day after he filed as a candidate with the Department of State.
That was just five days after incumbent CFO Alex Sink, a Democrat, entered the 2010 governor’s race. Sink made her announcement a day after Crist, a Republican, disclosed his decision.
"I will use the power of the chief financial officer to protect taxpayers from fraud, waste and abuse, whether it comes from Wall Street, fly-by-night finance companies, big insurance or corruption in government," Atwater said.
Atwater also promised to make government more transparent, effective and accountable.
The CFO is the keeper of state funds and securities and one of three Cabinet members.
The governor and Cabinet jointly oversee various state agencies including the Office of Insurance Regulation and departments of Revenue, Law Enforcement and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
They also buy and sell state lands and serve as the Board of Executive Clemency.
The governor, CFO and attorney general invest more than $100 billion in state funds.
Crist’s announcement also prompted Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum to announce his candidacy for governor Monday, creating another open Cabinet seat.
The final Cabinet member, Republican Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, cannot seek re-election due to term limits. He’s also considering a run for governor.