TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it clear in his state-of-state address on Tuesday that he loves teachers, first responders and freedom, and he doesn’t like the Dr Anthony Fauci, Critical Race Theory, Abortion, Illegal Immigration, and Burmese Pythons.
DeSantis opened his keynote address with a topic he hammered home time and time again during the coronavirus pandemic: Florida will not be a locked state and is forcing other states imposed to fight COVID-19 not to operate.
“Florida has become the way out for those who get angry under authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly endless mandates and restrictions,” DeSantis said. “These unprecedented policies were as ineffective as they were destructive. They are based more on blind adherence to Faucian statements than they are in constitutional traditions. “
DeSantis, who is running for re-election in November and is considering a possible 2024 presidential run, has put forward a conservative agenda for 2022. He said that would include keeping undocumented migrants out of Florida, by creating an office of law enforcement only dedicated to fighting voter fraud, preventing schools from teaching critical race theory, and protecting the unborn child.
DeSantis said Florida was a free state 10 times during the 33-minute speech, often interrupted by applause from Republican lawmakers as the legislature opened its annual 60-day session.
The governor said his policies had made Florida a leader in job growth and that increased state revenues put the state in a good position to write its next budget.
“Freedom works,” DeSantis said. “Our economy is the envy of the nation. And our state is well prepared to guard against future economic turmoil. “
Meanwhile, he said he would ask the legislature for money to send undocumented immigrants to other states.
“We cannot be a party to what is in fact a massive, federally led human trafficking operation. Companies that facilitate the movement of illegal aliens from the southern border to Florida should be held accountable, ”DeSantis said.
“When the federal government dumps people here in Florida illegally, the state can redirect them to states that have sanctuary policies,” he also said.
DeSantis also said he wanted bonuses of $ 1,000 for teachers and first responders and save drivers $ 1 billion with a gas tax holiday.
As DeSantis walked across the House floor to deliver the speech, he shook hands with two independently elected Republican cabinet members from Florida, but snubbed Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
“When he walked in, there was no decorum in the recognition,” said Fried, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge DeSantis.
She also said DeSantis’ speech was more of an appeal to a national audience than an outline of state goals.
“Half of his speech was about immigration, what’s going on in Washington, DC, and the emphasis was less on the concerns and issues that occur every day in (Florida) families,” a- she declared.
State Senator Annette Taddeo and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist are also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. But DeSantis paid them little attention.
During his speech, DeSantis took the time to recognize a man he called the King of the Pythons, Charlie Dachton, who caught 41 pythons in the Everglades as part of the State’s annual Roundup of the Invading Reptile. .
“We have decided to leave our unique natural heritage to God better than we have found it, and we are fulfilling that commitment,” said DeSantis.