Ponce confirmed as UF trustee


Published: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 4:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 4:44 p.m.

Danny Ponce, whose confirmation as a University of Florida trustee appeared

imperiled just weeks ago, was approved by the full Senate Thursday.

Ponce was not confirmed by the Senate Higher Education Committee, but the

chairman of that committee agreed to let his name be considered by the full

Senate nonetheless, according to a spokeswoman from the office of Sen. Ken

Pruitt, the president of the Senate and a Port St. Lucie Republican.

Ponce was appointed a UF trustee by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, even

though Ponce is a Democrat who has helped Democratic campaigns.

Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Cross Creek, denied that the hold-up of Ponce's

confirmation was politically motivated. Oelrich contended that Ponce's name

simply hadn't come forward to his committee, even though the Senate Journal

shows that Ponce's name was referred to Oelrich's committee March 4.

"I'm very, very pleased the Florida Senate confirmed me today, validating

Gov. Crist's judgement in appointing me to the University of Florida Board

of Trustees, and I'm excited about the opportunity to continue serving my

university that I love so much in this capacity," Ponce said.

Kathy Mears, spokeswoman for Pruitt's office, said Thursday that Oelrich

agreed to release Ponce's name to the full Senate for a vote after The Sun

published a story about Ponce's confirmation being in jeopardy.

"There didn't seem to be any problems with going ahead and bringing the

confirmation up on the floor, even though it hadn't been heard in

committees," Mears said.

Dr. Steven Scott and Al Warrington were also confirmed by the Senate

Thursday.

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