DeSantis draws contrast with federal government and Democratic-led states in State of the State address

DeSantis draws contrast with federal government and Democratic-led states in State of the State address

Painting himself and his state as the antidote to closed schools, government mandates and Big Tech overreach, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday delivered an election-year State of the State speech that emphasized the deepening divide between Republican and Democratic leadership during t he pandemic . DeSantis opened his remarks by declaring Florida “the freest state in these United States.” He then laid out a legislative agenda ready-made for the culture wars that have lately dominated the political arena, touching on critical race theory in schools, vaccine mandates, voting laws, abortion and police funding. The Republican leader, often mentioned as a potential presidential contender for his party in 2024, invited comparisons between Florida and states run by Democrats, and he levied sharp criticisms at the federal government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis without mentioning President Joe Biden by name. Nor did DeSantis utter the words “coronavirus,” “pandemic” or “vaccines,” even as the state faces another wave of cases and rising hospitalizations of unvaccinated individuals. “Florida has become the escape hatch for those chafing under authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly never-ending mandates and restrictions,” said DeSantis, who spoke for more than a half hour in a packed legislative chamber where masks were largely eschewed. His State of the State kicks off the 23rd legislative session in Florida, where Republicans control all the levers of power. From drawing new legislative and congressional boundaries to passing a budget and weighing new abortion restrictions, Republicans will decide how far to push Florida to the […]

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