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Ron DeSantis picks Tampa's Dana Young to head Visit Florida

Dana young
SCOTT KEELER | Times Senator Dana Young on the floor of the Florida Senate during debate, 2017 session.

Friday afternoon, Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis named former state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, as his pick to lead Visit Florida, the state's public-private tourism program which uses taxpayer funds to promote the state to visitors worldwide.

"Dana Young is an exceptional leader who has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all Floridians through her work in the state senate," said Governor-elect Ron DeSantis in a released statement. "Her leadership ability and experience make her an excellent candidate to lead Visit Florida in their mission to maximize the economic impact of travel and tourism to our state."

In order to take office as the CEO of Visit Florida, Young must first be approved by the Visit Florida Board of Directors.

Young, who first served in the state House before being elected to the Senate, lost her re-election bid to Democrat Janet Cruz in November after a razor-thin race that required a manual recount.

Visit Florida came under scrutiny in 2016 after the Florida House filed to sue the rapper Pitbull to reveal the details of a secret $1 million contract with Visit Florida to promote tourism to the state.

The charge against Visit Florida's operations was led by then-House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has now been appointed to be the commissioner of education in DeSantis' administration.