DeSantis quotes Merle Haggard and reaches for ‘new horizons’

To open the 2021 Legislative Session, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the traditional State of the State that touted his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and set up his 2022 re-election run.

The Yale and Harvard alumnus even paraphrased country music legend Merle Haggard and a Bible verse and quoted Benjamin Franklin in his address–probably a first.

In regards to COVID-19, the governor praised his care for seniors, reopening of businesses that his executive orders closed and making sure children could receive in-person instruction, while attacking how other governors handled the pandemic.

“In many parts of our country, a sad state of affairs: schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed,” said DeSantis. “This calamitous reality is just the beginning of what will likely be long-term damage to children, families and society. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7)”

He proclaimed that he and his government had the back of every Floridians “working hard to earn a living.”

The governor pushed three initiatives:

  1. The creation of the Resilient Florida program that will “invest $1 billion into projects that help our communities adapt to the threats posed by flooding from intensified storms and sea level rise.”
  2. HB 1, SB 484 – Combating Public Disorder – The strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement reforms in the nation that would “not permit localities to jeopardize the safety of their citizens by indulging in the insane fantasy of defunding law enforcement” and “not allow our cities to burn and violence to rule the streets.” He added, “To paraphrase an old Merle Haggard song, when you mess with the men and women of law enforcement you are walking on the fightin’ side of me.”
  3. Transparency in Technology Act:
      • “Floridians have a right to control their personal data and Big Tech should not be able to make billions of dollars off us without our informed consent.”
      • “We cannot allow the contours of acceptable speech to be adjudicated by the whims of oligarchs in Silicon Valley.”
      • “Nor we can allow Floridians to be ‘de-platformed’ or silenced with no means of recourse, and this is especially true of those who rely on these technology platforms for their livelihoods.”
  4. Election Reforms
      • “We need to make sure our elections are transparent and run efficiently. There should be no ballot harvesting in the state of Florida. One person, one vote.”

“We also cannot allow private groups to pour millions of dollars into the administration of our elections. That is a public function and should be done free from this type of private interference.”

DeSantis closed:

“At the close of the constitutional convention the famed elder statesman, Benjamin Franklin, was asked to be the first to sign the new Constitution. Franklin pointed to General Washington’s chair, the back of which had the design of a sun low on the horizon.

“‘There were days,” Franklin remarked, ‘when I thought this picture of a sun low on the horizon was a setting sun, but I now know it’s a rising sun — a new day for America, a new dawn for freedom.’

“Our nation and our state have endured a tumultuous year. Floridians have responded in ways that would make our founders proud. Because of those efforts, the sun is rising here in Florida — and the Sunshine State will soon reach new horizons.”