Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fueled 2024 speculation in speech, citing state record

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media at the Florida Cabinet following his “State of the Union” address during a joint session of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives at the Florida State Capitol on March 7, 2023 in Tallahassee, Florida.

Cheney Or | AFP | Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed Tuesday that his achievements have made Florida the nation’s top state as he fueled more speculation about his possible run for the presidency in 2024.

“I can promise you this: You haven’t seen anything yet,” the Republican said at the end of his state of the nation address to a joint session of the Florida legislature in Tallahassee. The event marks the start of Florida’s 2023 legislative session, which will run through May 5.

DeSantis, who is widely seen as former President Donald Trump’s top rival for the Republican presidential nomination, is expected to announce his White House plans by the end of the legislative session.

The Republican supermajority in the state legislature will help DeSantis pass an agenda that could span a wide range of conservative cultural issues and juice up the campaign around his political future.

Republicans gained a supermajority in both chambers of the Florida state legislature after the November midterms, when Democrats performed poorly in the Sunshine State. Leaders of the state’s House and Senate have vowed to work hand-in-hand with DeSantis to “get his agenda across the finish line.”

Some of those agenda items could include approving measures for carrying a concealed gun in public without a permit — called “constitutional carry” by supporters, including DeSantis — as well as allowing sex in public schools and The extension of a highly controversial law limiting discussion of gender, derided by critics as “Don’t Say Gay”.

DeSantis began his 30-minute speech by declaring that “Florida is number one” and cycling through a long list of the state’s highest positions under his administration. He noted that Florida is currently the fastest-growing state in the country and pointed to its economic growth and high tourism ranking.

He also referenced his high-profile political tussles over Covid safety rules – when he pushed for the removal of public health-related lockdown measures – and classroom instruction.

In his speech, DeSantis said, “We’re number one in the nation for educational freedom. We’re number one in the nation for parental involvement in education.” “We put a stop to the Covid shot mandate in schools.”

Those moves, which prompted major backlash from Democrats and other critics, quickly propelled DeSantis to GOP superstardom, giving him a landslide victory in November.

He also called for “strengthening the rights of parents”, arguing, “Our schools should be providing a good education, not a political education.”

And he advocated permanently eliminating sales taxes on baby supplies so that “a baby is born tax free,” making a possible oblique reference to the abortion policy, adding, “We take pride in being pro-life in the state of Florida.” Are” “

DeSantis has framed Florida as a “blueprint” for America, suggesting that his state-level actions create a recipe for national success. He released a new political memoir and recently released a campaign-style video touting his accomplishments in Florida — two strong signs that he’s preparing a White House bid.

Polls consistently show that Trump and DeSantis are by far the two most competitive names on the vast list of potential Republican contenders for the 2024 election.

If he does run for president, DeSantis would join an expanding primary field that already includes Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are considering a presidential campaign of their own.

DeSantis is reportedly set to fly to Iowa on Friday as part of his book tour. Trump is visiting the state after three days to deliver a speech on education policy.

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