File this under the law of “unintended consequences.”
In 1998, many of us thought it was a good idea to “depoliticize” cabinet offices by taking them away from being elected positions to making them appointed ones. We thought it was a “good government” measure, akin to Florida’s Askew-era progressive tradition of “government in the sunshine.”
We were wrong. Dead wrong.
With the recent highly-politicized appointments of the radicalized Manny Diaz Jr. and Cord Byrd, it’s abundantly clear that we can no longer leave these appointments to the Governor.
For those who think the Department of State just manages elections, it also manages important cultural and historical programs and given the GOP’s recent embrace of denial of Florida’s real history and importance historically, the DoS needs to be cleansed of political appointment.
It does seem odd making an office on the surface more political by having an election would be the remedy, but given GOP dominance of the Governor’s office and the type of people they are nominating for Governor, this is the better option.
Having an elected Secretary of State and Commissioner of Education will make the departments they lead more responsive to the population of the state, more in-tune with the needs of areas that don’t vote for GOPers (even if GOPers win the race) and probably more divorced from caving to the demands of a Governor that’s intent on consolidating power in his or her hands, like or current Governor.
Undoing the 1998 Constitutional Amendment will take another Constitutional Amendment. And now it must pass with a super-majority of voters even if it makes the ballot.
We’re open to any and all suggestions on how to proceed, but it must be done.