Central Florida lawmaker offered job as South Florida State College president

State Rep. Fred Hawkins represents Orange, Osceola counties

Rep. Fred Hawkins, R-St. Cloud, smiles as he is congratulated after his House Bill 9B Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange and Osceola Counties favorably reported out of the State Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears) (Phil Sears, Copyright 2023 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A lawmaker who represents Orange and Osceola counties in the Florida House of Representatives may soon be leaving to become a state college president.

State Rep. Fred Hawkins, a Republican who represents House District 35, was offered the presidency at South Florida State College, replacing Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel who will retire on June 30.

The board of trustees for the college, which has campuses in DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties, approved the offer to Hawkins Wednesday, with final contract consideration set for the June 21 District Board of Trustees meeting.

On May 10, Hawkins tweeted that he was looking forward to becoming the school’s president. However, he wasn’t formally interviewed by the board of trustees until May 31.

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If the contract is finalized, Hawkins would become president of the school in July.

It also will likely mean a special election for Florida House District 35, which represents eastern Orange and Osceola counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis would have to call for the special election and set the dates.

Hawkins, who was an Osceola County commissioner before he was in the Legislature, is a staunch DeSantis ally. Among the bills he sponsored was the one that remade Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.