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Capital Report: January 6, 2023

When Governor Ron DeSantis was first sworn into office four years ago, he vowed to protect Florida’s environment, support law enforcement, expand school choice, build a more conservative Florida Supreme Court and invest in skills-based educational programs. Earlier this week/ last week, he promised to continue the work he’s done in his first four years during his second inaugural speech. Valerie Crowder has more on what we’re likely to see in the first year of his second term.

Governor Ron DeSantis is asking to see all the programs related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - and Critical Race Theory - in the state’s public higher education system. He also wants to know if those programs are being funded with state money, and how much. The request comes days after the governor promised to keep cracking down on so-called “woke ideology.” His ask is being met with fear, outrage and skepticism across both the college and university system.

Through new state laws, inflammatory rhetoric and political appointments, Governor Ron DeSantis has significantly expanded his influence over local education policy. Parental rights activists seized on legislation approved by DeSantis to challenge books and curriculum they don’t agree with. And a number of the governor’s allies and appointees now hold key seats on county school boards. WLRN’s Kate Payne and Wilkine (WILL-kinn) Brutus talk about what the new year could bring on Florida’s education front.

Former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (FREED) spent four years as Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat. Her term just ended. She chose not to run for re-election and instead ran an unsuccessful race for governor. In the Deeper Dive with Dara (DARE-uh) Kam (cam) podcast from City and State Florida, Fried (FREED) reflects on her time in office and gives us a peek into her next move.

Key West has some very big – and quite flashy - shoes to fill now that its most famous drag queen has retired. WLRN’s Gwen Filosa has that story.