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DeSantis promotes freedom from woke ideology in his second inaugural address

Ron DeSantis, wife Casey in a green dress, and their children as DeSantis takes the oath of office
Lynne Sladky
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, is sworn by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Muniz, left, to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. Looking on is DeSantis' wife, Casey, second from right, and their son, Mason.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ second term got underway today after being sworn back into office. DeSantis’s second inaugural speech largely highlighted his accomplishments and included swipes at the federal government and President Joe Biden’s administration amid talk of the governor possibly running for president in 2024.

DeSantis made clear he is not veering from the conservative agenda that’s made him into a Republican presidential contender. He promised to go further on parental rights in education and to continue pushing law-enforcement-friendly policies. He stated “Florida is where woke goes to die,” while touting an agenda focused on “freedom.”

“From the Space Coast to the Suncoast from St. John's to St. Lucie, from the streets of Hialeah to the Speedway in Daytona, from the Okeechobee, all the way up to Micanopy, Freedom lives here in our great sunshine state of Florida,” DeSantis said to a cheering crowd of supporters gathered on and around the steps of the Historic old Capitol.

As governor, DeSantis pushed new laws limiting how race, and history are taught in public schools and colleges and expanded the role of parents in the state’s public school systems. He shifted the state’s high court to the right through the appointment of more conservative justices, and he managed to secure record spending on the state’s water and environmental resources—all were issues he noted he wanted to address during his 2018 inaugural speech.

Some Democratic lawmakers criticized DeSantis for not talking about Florida’s housing crisis or mentioning gun violence.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskoll said she wasn’t surprised by DeSantis’ words but that she was “predictably disappointed,” noting DeSantis blasted the federal government’s response to COVID-19 but made no mention of the more than 80,000 Floridians who died from the virus.

“He brags about our state’s success without mentioning the record funding that came from the Biden Administration to stabilize our economy,” Driskoll said.

“He claims to support law enforcement and ‘law & order’ yet he proudly pushes an extremist NRA-backed Unregulated Carry that will mean thousands of hidden guns being carried by unlicensed people across the state. What could be more ‘soft on crime’ than making it easier for criminals to carry guns on our streets? We should never confuse ‘soft on crime’ with ‘smart on crime,’ and this is not a smart plan."

DeSantis won his reelection bid over Democrat Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points—among the biggest margins in state history.

Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and new Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson were also sworn into office Tuesday.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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