Florida District 77 Rep. Dane Eagle (R), the current Florida House Majority Leader, will take over as chief executive of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) on September 14. Eagle replaces Ken Lawson, who resigned as head of DEO on August 31.
Eagle lost his party’s primary race last month for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.
A commercial real estate broker from Cape Coral, Eagle described himself on his now-deleted campaign website as “a pro-Trump conservative.” While it remains to be seen how Eagle will oversee the unemployment system, his historical voting record and lack of experience managing large complex systems doesn’t seem to portend in favor of the desperate jobless still waiting for benefits.
House Democrat Anna Eskamani, one of the sharpest critics of Florida’s unemployment benefits system, told the Florida Phoenix that he has “close to zero credentials in unemployment or small business relief.”
Eagle has voted for regressive state budgets that ignore Floridians’ needs in favor of the wealthy and well-connected, earning a grade of F from Progress Florida. He also supported the Predatory Payday Loans bill, which allowed a usurious interest rate of up to 200% APR. These terrible loans are designed to trap the unsuspecting poor in a vicious cycle of inescapable debt.
Most disturbingly, Eagle has tweeted his opposition to extending the $600/week supplemental unemployment benefit. And in May 2020, Eagle voted against convening a special session of the Florida state legislature to address the systemic problems with Florida’s unemployment system.
Last month, Florida Democrats again demanded a special legislative session on unemployment issues.
Buckle up, y’all.