Newly installed Gov. Ron DeSantis sent Floridians a bipartisan message that they haven’t heard from leaders in Tallahassee for a while. In his 16-minute inauguration speech on Tuesday, DeSantis sounded sincere when he spoke of Republicans and Democrats working together for the good of Florida.
Standing outside the Old Capital, DeSantis at 40 a young state chief, spoke as a regular guy, admitting that he is “conscious of my own deficiencies.” He vowed, however, that Floridians would get “a full heart, my best judgment and the courage of my convictions.
We’ll take it — and hope for the best.
Regardless of whether or not one voted for DeSantis, for whom President Trump went all in early in the campaign, Floridians can take heart that he comes across as personable and, even better, approachable. We hope these characteristics extend to his relationship with the media, whom former Gov. Rick Scott stonewalled and too often shut out in the face of challenging questions. We hope DeSantis is committed to openness and transparency with the people he represents.
DeSantis said he will build on an inherited solid economic foundation and, unlike Scott, now Florida’s junior senator, he will champion Florida’s environmental future and protect it. He highlighted his commitment to deal with the blue-green algae and red tide, bedeviling Florida’s coasts. That’s a first in eight years for Floridians, who endured a governor for whom climate change did not exist. At least DeSantis gets the critical link between our environment, our economy and our very future.
He also signaled he will tackle health care in Florida, likely a project for new Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, a health care executive, the highest ranking Latin woman in the state’s political history — and a Miamian. DeSantis should be praised for selecting Nunez, a respected veteran member of the Florida Legislature.
“The people of Florida deserve relief,” DeSantis said of the state’s health care woes. He’s right, but let’s hope that relief entails at least a compromise that includes expanding Medicaid for 1 million needy Floridians — relief that Scott refused to grant.
The new governor signaled a slight change in school curriculum. DeSantis believes we should return to teaching civics, so students can learn the “duties of citizenship.” That’s a solid idea. DeSantis also says that vocational education should be enhanced — building on the conservatives’ idea that not every student should head for college. He is a proponent of school choice, of course, and we urge him to not undercut public schools solely to boost for-profit charters.
DeSantis appears to be off to a solid start. Let’s hope — for Florida’s sake — that he stays on track.
An editorial from the Miami Herald.