Steve Precourt Chosen to Lead OOCEA

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 8, 2014 3:55 AM
Steve Precourt

Steve Precourt

Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, was named executive director of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) on Tuesday. The House Republican beat out three other candidates to lead the $6 billion agency.

Currently the chairman of the State Affairs Committee, Precourt served as House majority leader last year. First elected to the Florida House in 2006, Precourt, who represents parts of Orange County, was facing term limits in 2014. He replaces Max Crumit who left OOCEA in September.

Walter Ketcham, the chairman of OOCEA, praised Precourt on Tuesday.“We are happy to have Mr. Precourt as our new executive director,” Ketcham said. “I look forward to working with him to continue the advances we have made. I am satisfied that he has the skills and knowledge to lead us into the future.”

Precourt, who is scheduled to start the new assignment next Monday if he reaches a final agreement, vowed to do his best in his new position.

“I am honored to have the support of the Expressway Authority board for the position of executive director and look forward to further discussing the opportunity with Chairman Ketcham,” Precourt said. “I commit to maintaining the good reputation of the authority and vow to work hard to uphold the highest standards when serving the customers, the public, the stakeholders and all the many constituents of the authority.”

But Precourt left himself some room to stay in the House. "At this time, I remain an active member of the Florida House while my family and I thoughtfully consider the options and our best path forward," he said on Tuesday afternoon. "I will make an announcement regarding my future with the Florida Legislature and this opportunity at the appropriate time.”

Precourt garnered praise from his colleagues in the House including the speaker. “Congrats to my friend Steve Precourt on his appointment as OOCEA chair (sic.),” House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “He has been a great leader in the House.”

Republicans have a candidate already lined up to run for Precourt’s seat. Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle stepped aside after redistricting in 2012 in order not to take Precourt on in the Republican primary. But with Precourt facing term limits this year, Eisnaugle never closed his campaign accounts and holds the financial edge over the two Democrats -- Lee Douglas and Shaun Raja -- in the race.

Eisnaugle made no bones about it on Tuesday, insisting he plans to run if there is a special election.

“I've been getting a lot of questions today,” Eisnaugle posted on Twitter. “If there is a special in HD 44, I will run.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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