90 Miles From Tyranny : In Florida, Ron DeSantis Accelerates Conservative Agenda

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Monday, April 15, 2019

In Florida, Ron DeSantis Accelerates Conservative Agenda

As his first legislative session winds down, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—elected five months ago by the narrowest of margins—has soared in popularity while pursuing an aggressive reform agenda that includes reshaping the state’s judiciary, investigating school safety, and enforcing immigration laws.

“He’s off to a fast start. He’s a trailblazer throughout the state,” Scott Parkinson, who served as chief of staff for DeSantis in the U.S. House of Representatives, told The Daily Signal.

“As a member of Congress, he had to be a consensus builder and build coalitions. As a governor he can lead on principle. He has such a unique life experience to be a leader,” Parkinson said.

DeSantis, 40, is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law. He went on to serve as a Navy JAG officer, as an adviser to Navy SEALs in Iraq, and as counsel for the U.S. detention center for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before first being elected to the House in 2012.

Parkinson, now vice president of government affairs at Club for Growth, a conservative business advocacy group, said that when he saw DeSantis in late February, the governor was in active mode.

“He said he had been to his fourth city in a day,” Parkinson said. “He’s not tied to a desk in Tallahassee. He demonstrates leadership.”

DeSantis is a husband and father, too.

In 2010, the Jacksonville native married the woman who would become first lady of Florida—Casey Black DeSantis, an Emmy Award-winning TV host. They have one daughter, Madison, and a son, Mason.

In the governor’s race, DeSantis, a Republican, beat Democrat Andrew Gillum by fewer than 1% of the votes. A Mason-Dixon poll released April 4, though, shows DeSantis with a 62%approval rating. A Quinnipiac University Poll in March showed DeSantis with a 59% approval rating.

“Not surprisingly, he has had a bold agenda that has been both conservative and...

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