After months and months of swirling speculation and rumors around the political world in Florida and Washington on whether Rep. Ron DeSantis would run for governor in the Sunshine State, the married father of two (one is still in the hopper) has made it official last Friday.
We caught up with DeSantis shortly after he addressed the state Republican Party at their annual meeting in Orlando, where the newly-minted candidate told us why he was running for the top job in the state, and responded to the Team Putnam claim that he was a “Washington insider.”
DeSantis did his best of containing his laughter, saying that he was going to smack that “insider” comment out of the park.
“At some point, when I get a few runners on base, I think that’s a hanging curveball. So, I am going to wait till I get a few runners on base, and I am going to hit that one in the upper deck at the appropriate time.”
DeSantis says that like Washington, Tallahassee needed to be cleaned up of all the shadiness that has plagued the state capitol over the past several months, adding that people should not be force to work in that kind of environment.
So, why he is running?
“The thing about being governor is that you have an opportunity to set a very clear agenda with key policy things that build off the success that Governor Scott has had creating jobs here, so I think we can continue to make Florida economically dynamic.
I think we can finally fix our courts system and have a constitutionalist majority on the Florida Supreme Court, which we need, and I think that we can do some significant education reform, opportunity scholarships, more school choice, getting civics back into the schools, and promoting vocational, technical education. That has a direct Impact on people’s quality of life even more so than a lot of the stuff that goes on in Washington.”
How would he add to what Governor Scott jobs creation of the past 7 years?
“I have talked to him about it, and I think that what we need to, what I’d like to do is diversify our economy a little bit more. You know, we are heavy on tourism, military, agriculture, I think that if you are going to start a financial services company why would you do it in Connecticut or New York right now? Do it in West Palm Beach, or do it in Tampa. Manufacturing, I think that we can build a better manufacturing base her if we have a school system that is equipping high school students with some tangible skills that they have a good, ready labor force. So, I think there are some good opportunities for us.
Think about it, you are not going to want to start some of these things in some of the states like Illinois, like New York, like Connecticut, it’s just not as economically viable, so we in Florida have to take advantage of that.”
DeSantis will be squaring off against Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Richard Corcoran (he hasn’t announced yet, but is expected to) in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial sweepstakes.