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DeSantis picks Senate President’s daughter for USF trustee

It’s the second time in two months that a powerful lawmaker’s child received a key appointment
Florida Senator Wilton Simpson, R- Trilby, left, greets Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, right, during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, January 14, 2020.
Florida Senator Wilton Simpson, R- Trilby, left, greets Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, right, during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, January 14, 2020. [ SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES ]
Published Jul. 24
Updated Jul. 24

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed the daughter of Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, to the University of South Florida Board of Trustees, the governor’s office announced Friday. DeSantis tapped Lauran Monbarren for the post.

The announcement listed her occupation as chief financial officer and vice president of Simpson Environmental Services and Simpson Farms. Monbarren previously was a Pasco County teacher and administrator at Pasco-Hernando State College. Her appointment to the university board will require Senate confirmation.

Former House Speaker Will Weatherford is chairman of the USF Board of Trustees, which in the coming months will search for a new university president. President Steven Currall announced Monday he will step down after two years on the job.

DeSantis’ pick of Monbarren for the board followed his May appointment of Gabriella Passidomo, daughter of Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to a seat on the Florida Public Service Commission. Kathleen Passidomo is slated to succeed Simpson as Senate president in November 2022.