Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez are touting their successes in 2019 as their first year leading the state nears its close.
“2019 was an incredible year for Florida,” DeSantis said in a Monday news release recapping the year.
“We have achieved historic accomplishments that are of the utmost importance to Floridians and will bring our state to the next level. In conjunction with the Florida Legislature and our federal, state and local partners, we were able to secure major successes for the environment, education, hurricane recovery, economic development, public safety, military, health care and much more.”
DeSantis won a close contest in 2018 to succeed Rick Scott as the state’s Governor. In January, his first month in office, DeSantis advocated for $625 million in environmental funding. That funding went toward Everglades restoration, combating algal blooms and other items and was eventually secured.
The push to secure that money was among the highlights being pushed by the Governor in his year-end round-up Monday. Also included in the list were efforts to push state money toward expanding school voucher options, legislation that allows for smokable medical marijuana and a measure to permit the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.
“The First Lady and I appreciate the support we have received over the past year,” DeSantis added.
“Every day, I wake up grateful for the opportunity to go to work on behalf of Floridians. While we can reflect and be proud of these accomplishments, there is always more that can be done. Looking ahead as we enter the new year, I am excited for our next chapter, as Florida’s future has never been brighter.”
Nuñez emphasized some of those same highlights, along with some efforts of her own. In November, Núñez traveled to Colombia on a trade mission to help partner Florida businesses with economic partners in the country.
“We have had quite an exciting and successful first year,” Núñez argued.
“Governor DeSantis and I look forward to tackling a number of issues in the upcoming legislative session and are confident that 2020 will yield significant results for Floridians in every corner of this great state. On everything from education to the environment, healthcare and hurricane recovery, I am proud to stand alongside Governor DeSantis and help author the next extraordinary chapter for the Sunshine State.”
Not all of the Governor’s proposals have earned him widespread appeal, however. Public education advocates balked at Republicans’ school voucher push. And interest groups also warned against allowing prescription drugs to be moved into the U.S. from other countries.
And there was behind the scenes drama as well, with the Governor reportedly forcing out longtime GOP operative Susie Wiles. DeSantis fingered Wiles for a leak of memos detailing lobbyists shelling out between $25,000 and $250,000 for access to the Governor at special events.
Nevertheless, the Governor’s approval ratings have been consistently high to close out the year. And that leaves Núñez with confidence that the Governor maintains enough political capital to continue their work in 2020.
“Governor DeSantis and I have spent the past year pushing the boundaries of the 21st century with a bold vision of continued job creation, maintaining taxes low, protecting our environment and reforming education, but our 2019 successes are just the beginning,” Núñez said.