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Gov. Rick Scott to honor surgeon general who lost job


John Armstrong, the former state surgeon general who lost his job after the Senate did not confirm his appointment, will be honored Monday evening by Gov. Rick Scott.

The governor will hold a reception at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, according to his schedule.

Armstrong was one of the longest serving agency heads in the Scott administration, running the Department of Health from 2012 until March 11, the final day of the legislative session and the deadline for the Senate to confirm him. He previously was a medical officer at the University of South Florida and an Army surgeon.

Interim Surgeon General Celeste Philip then hired him as deputy secretary for administration in DOH, but he has been taking a medical leave of absence as he battles colon cancer.

Senate Democrats and South Florida Republicans blocked Armstrong's confirmation earlier this year, raising questions about children being unenrolled from the Children's Medical Services program, the handling of a medical marijuana program passed by the Legislature in 2014 and rising cases of HIV, which were most severe in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.