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Apollo Beach Republican named Scott's chief of staff | News

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Apollo Beach Republican named Scott's chief of staff
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Apollo Beach Republican named Scott's chief of staff

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Gov.-elect Rick Scott today chose a retired Army colonel to be his chief of staff and named a pair of Tallahassee lobbyists to spots in his administration.

Scott relied on trusted political and policy advisers in assembling the nucleus of his management team, just two weeks before his inauguration. He drew from "Conservatives for Patients Rights," the campaign team he organized to combat President Obama's national health care plan, in filling some top spots in his inner circle.

Republican Mike Prendergast of Apollo Beach, who ran for Congress this year but lost to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, was named chief of staff. He was born at MacDill Air Force Base and grew up in the Tampa area, serving in the Army from 1978 until last year.

Mary Anne Carter, a longtime adviser to Scott, will have the title chief adviser to the governor. She will oversee the budget office and report directly to the governor on major policy initiatives, legislation and communications.

Scott named a pair of lobbyists, Hayden Dempsey and Jon Costello, as his special counsel and legislative-affairs director. Brian Burgess, who worked as communications director of the Scott campaign for governor, will have the same role in the new administration.

Burgess also worked on Conservatives for Patients Rights, along with Carter. Carter is currently executive director of the Scott transition team.

Dempsey is director of public affairs for the Greenberg Traurig law firm. He was legislative affairs director for Gov. Jeb Bush and deputy general counsel in the Bush administration. He's currently registered as a lobbyist for a wide range of clients, including some health-care interests.

Costello was a policy adviser to the Scott campaign for governor and a consultant for the Rutledge, Ecenia and Purnell firm. He's registered as a lobbyist for cable television, dog-racing, mortgage brokers, Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach.

Prendergast challenged Castor with a conservative platform, opposing Obama administration economic policies. But he polled only about 40 percent of the vote in District 11, which includes parts of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee County.

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