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Florida Senate confirms Dr. Joe Ladapo as surgeon general

'Politics is a component of my role, but I'm not here for politics,' Ladapo says
Dr. Joe Ladapo Senate confirmation, Feb. 23, 2022
Posted at 10:24 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 22:25:30-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate on Wednesday confirmed Dr. Joe Ladapo as the state's top doctor after a party-line vote.

The GOP majority pushed through the Gov. Ron DeSantis' appointee by a vote of 24-15.

Ladapo, a physician and clinical researcher, has questioned the effectiveness of masks and resisted mandates, saying he's following the science.

His approach to the pandemic has been holistic, stressing a healthy diet and exercise on top of standard mitigation methods.

Republicans called the doctor a "national draft pick."

Democrats accused him of being a yes man for the governor.

Ladapo addressed that concern after Wednesday evening's vote.

"Politics is a component of my role, but I'm not here for politics. I'm here for health," Ladapo said. "It just so happens that the governor and I sort of see things similarly among some major health issues, and that’s good because I think that's the right way to see it. I think that's the way that's best for Floridians."

The surgeon general said he feels comfortable telling anyone when he thinks they're wrong but declined to say if he had run into conflicts with DeSantis.

Ladapo has been serving the state since September and will continue to hold the post at the governor's pleasure.