DeSantis appoints “Master of Disaster” Moskowitz, key player in Florida’s COVID response, to Broward County Commission

Jared Moskowitz, a crucial figure in Florida’s COVID-19 response as head of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management before stepping down earlier this year, has been appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to fill a vacancy on Broward’s Board of County Commissioners.

DeSantis announced Moskowitz’s appointment Tuesday during a press conference.

Moskowitz has been a widely known political figure in Florida. He is a former Florida House member for part of Broward County and a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the site of the tragic 2018 school shooting.

In August, Moskowitz joined Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Cava staff, in a paid position, as an advisor on the county’s COVID response.

In 2019, DeSantis, appointed Moskowitz to direct the Division of Emergency Management, which responds to disasters including hurricanes and floods. The COVID pandemic represented a new challenge for the agency.

DeSantis spoke highly of Moskowitz time as director.

“He was instrumental in all things emergency response. He really improved the agency in so many different ways and made a great impact on a lot of different people who were recovering from storms, people who needed help with COVID,” DeSantis said.

South Florida was one of the first areas to experience COVID as the virus spread through some of Florida’s most populous counties.

“Broward was the first part of the state where we started to see few cases back then … and we brought, first in the country, to mobilize the National Guard to do these big testing sites. And so that was not only Jared, that was right here in Broward County,” DeSantis said.

“We were the first state to bring vaccines to nursing homes, and Jared oversaw that. And, actually, the first nursing home we visited was here in Broward County,” DeSantis said. “And then, of course, most recently, when we did the monoclonal antibodies sites … Jared had moved on by then, but we wouldn’t have been able to do that as effectively if he had not put in a really good infrastructure.”

Moskowitz stepped down as director in February.

“I left being the director, because at the time, I had spent so much time away from my family. I didn’t go home for four months at the beginning of the pandemic. And my wife and kids stayed home in Broward,” Moskowitz said Tuesday.

“Thank you [DeSantis] for having the confidence in me yet again,” he said. “Let’s just hope this appointment is nowhere near as eventful as the last job you gave me.”

At Tuesday’s conference, DeSantis also announced the appointment of Florida Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Torey Alston to the commission.

Alston now serves as chief of staff for the Florida Department of Transportation. Previously, he served several local government roles in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Gainesville.

To watch Gov DeSantis' Tuesday press conference, click here.


Portions of his report first appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.

 

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