TALLAHASSEE — Fred Piccolo, the communications director for the Florida Speaker of the House, will move to a new role as the chief spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Piccolo, 42, replaces Helen Aguirre Ferré, who was named Thursday the new executive director of the Florida Republican Party.
Piccolo, is a native of Buffalo, New York, who moved to Florida in 1984, and attended high school in St. Petersburg. He attended the University of Central Florida, graduating with a degree in history and economics, and earned a law degree from Stetson University.
Piccolo has been the primary spokesperson for the last two speakers of the Florida House of Representatives, Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes and former state representative and current Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
Before working for the state House, Piccolo worked for four years at Tampa-based political consulting firm Strategic Image Management with his brother, Thomas Piccolo, and Anthony Pedicini.
From Jan. 2011 to Dec. 2012, Piccolo was chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, a Lakeland Republican. He got his start in politics as a travel aide to former Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
Piccolo is known for his brash and sometimes aggressive Twitter feed, often criticizing media stories that offer a critical perspective on conservative leaders he supports and expressing a distrust of media organizations that are not politically aligned.
Like Ferré, he has retweeted COVID skeptic and writer Alex Berensen, and Twitter accounts that accuse the media of hyping the COVID-19 data. Piccolo has recently deleted many of his more edgy tweets.
He said his social media history is a reflection of his allegiance to his Republican bosses.
“I always zealously advocated for the policy positions of my boss and I’ll continue to do so,‘' Piccolo said Friday. “I’d argue it is not a lack of respect, but a recognition that the idea that there are independent, non-ideological media is not supported by experience, and pointing ut bias is part of the job. I’m hopeful, at least during the pandemic, that we all can be advocates for solutions and work together. We can then go back to arguing over trust funds and transportation projects.”