When Governor Ron DeSantis took office, many political pundits were skeptical, wondering if he would be a true governor of the people, or another placeholder official. Eight weeks into his tenure, and Gov. DeSantis has silenced his critics and eliminated any doubts levied against his ability to lead.
Gov. DeSantis has done more in two months than many governors accomplish in two years – and he's achieved this by compromising and working across the aisle.
In such a short amount of time, he's amassed an impressive list of achievements – making both Republicans and Democrats happy. From reshaping Florida's Supreme Court, to making the environment a top priority, Gov. DeSantis has a policy for everyone, making him one of the most popular governors in America.
But to say that he's completed these feats on his own would be asinine. Of course, he has a competent group in his cabinet, He also has a majority legislature in his pocket. These are valuable assets at his disposal, but all pale in comparison to his "secret weapon": his wife.
Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis has many roles apart from being a political figure. Besides being the first lady and wife of Gov. Ron DeSantis, she's held numerous titles during her successful professional career. She's a former writer and producer, creating her own television documentary. She had a prosperous career as a news anchor, co-hosting several programs. She was also a local newscaster, anchor and moderator, working for high profile news channels like CNN, NBC, and ABC. If that's not enough, she was a 3-time National Champion equestrian and enrolled in a graduate program at Standford University. But most of all, she's a mother to two young children, Madison (born in 2016) and Mason (born in 2018) – a 24/7 duty that is her number one priority.
DeSantis, 38, has accomplished a lot in her short career. From obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the College of Charleston, to her distinguished career as an award-winning journalist, Ms. DeSantis has proved that she is more than just a pretty face.
And while her accolades are immense, she's determined to do more in her new position as First Lady of Florida. Ms. DeSantis' best work is on the horizon, and she's already proving to be a valuable piece to Florida's political puzzle.
Yes, First Lady DeSantis is more than just a proxy stand-in. In an era where first ladies are supposed to be seen and not heard, Ms. DeSantis stands out. Unlike most first ladies, Ms. DeSantis isn't using her title as a photo op or public relations position. She's taking an active role in her husband's administration, being dedicated and headstrong in the process.
One such area that she's passionate about is helping hurricane victims in the Panhandle.
Last week, Ms. DeSantis made her first solo trip as First Lady to Bay County – one of the hardest places hit by Hurricane Michael back in October. There, she used her journalistic skill set, hosting a hurricane recovery listening session alongside Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz.
The session was instrumental, giving local and state leaders like Representatives Jay Trumbull and Brad Drake, a forum to discuss recovery efforts and ways that the legislature could aid in the rebuilding process.
Pushing her own agenda, the First Lady says she is committed to hurricane relief efforts moving forward, and if her proactive approach is a sign of things to come, those in Florida who were affected by the Category 4 storm have one of the biggest relief advocates on their side.
Today I had the opportunity to meet firsthand with those affected by Hurricane Michael. @FLSERT Director Jared Moskowitz, @katiepatronis and I heard directly from government officials, business leaders, community members and students about the ongoing efforts to rebuild.
But First Lady DeSantis is not just a one-trick pony. Like many of her roles suggests, she is a jack-of-all-trades.
The First Lady is also involved with the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Along with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Ms. DeSantis met with individuals who have been affected by the turmoil that is ripping apart the socialist nation. The session allowed both leaders to hear from exiles who have witnessed firsthand the devastation brought about by Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro.
.@LtGovNunez and I had the chance to hear from more of those families today. As mothers, we are especially focused on making sure the children of Venezuela no longer suffer under the oppressive Maduro dictatorship.
With Ms. DeSantis stepping out of her comfort zone, she proves that she has the versatility to make an impact abroad. Her commitment to Florida is evident, but her willingness to want to help people outside of the state displays her compassion for wanting to serve others.
And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the First Lady. Florida is guaranteed four years with this dynamic couple, and Ms. DeSantis will continue to use her role to progress that "bold vision" her husband laid out in his State of the State Address.
In more ways than one, Ms. DeSantis is bucking the trend of being just a social event companion to the governor – serving a more prominent role in the administration. Like other strong women in the cabinet – Lt. Gov. Nuñez, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – First Lady DeSantis is an integral part of a team that is reshaping the way we view politics in Florida.
Most importantly, she's setting an important precedent, proving that the role of First Lady can be utilized in ways that impact the state. She's a trendsetter, pioneer and role model for those who want to serve others. Her work ethic and leadership make her an anomaly, and she's quickly solidifying herself as a modern-day Betty Ford.
It's been nearly two months since Gov. DeSantis took office, and under his leadership Florida has flourished. His ability to get things done has shined bright, with his accomplishments radiating from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys. But like the old expression says, "Behind every great man, there's a great woman." And while Gov. DeSantis may be sunlight that we all focus on, First Lady DeSantis is the sun, serving as the ever-burning core.
Together, this "sunshine couple" is making the Sunshine State a better place.