In State of the State, Ron DeSantis calls Florida ‘freedom’s vanguard’ after nearly two years of COVID-19
Photo via Colin Hackley.

'We were right and they were wrong, and millions of families in Florida are better for it.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Florida a beacon of freedom as the state approaches the end of its second year in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his State of the State address Tuesday, the Republican Governor touted several of his successes from the last three years in office and outlined the issues he wants to see progress over the coming 60 60-day Session.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck Florida in March 2020 as lawmakers were wrapping the final weeks of that year’s Legislative Session. Now with two years of perspective, DeSantis railed against strict pandemic response measures.

Central to DeSantis’ 30-minute speech was that he has kept the state largely free of pandemic restrictions since fully reopening Florida in late 2020. His administration has allowed businesses to operate and employees to work, and he also opposed federal vaccine mandates.

By contrast, some people adhere more to “Faucian” declarations than the Constitution, DeSantis argued. And he lambasted what he called a “biomedical security state” and touted his effort to keep Florida a “liberty outpost.”

“While so many around the country have consigned the people’s rights to the graveyard, Florida has stood as freedom’s vanguard,” DeSantis said.

The freedom theme aligned closely with the “Freedom First” budget DeSantis announced in December, which would amount to about $100 billion. Florida has maintained a large budget surplus and “withstood unfavorable national headwinds.”

On education, DeSantis called for another round of $1,000 bonuses for teachers and highlighted the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which the state has used to prevent schools from enforcing mask mandates during the current academic year.

DeSantis described the “hysterical media,” unions and the politicians they control as some who opposed getting children back in classrooms.

“We were right and they were wrong, and millions of families in Florida are better for it,” DeSantis said.

The Governor also continued his attacks on critical race theory, which posits that racial disparities have a continual influence on institutional structures. He is asking for legislation to ban the concept in schools and in job training.

“Our tax dollars should not be used to teach kids to hate our country or to hate each other,” DeSantis said.

He also promoted his latest election law proposals, which includes establishing an election police office to enforce election laws, particularly around ballot handling. And DeSantis blamed federal border policies for an influx of illegal migration and narcotics like fentanyl.

DeSantis also called for the state to create a memorial to remind people of the Champlain Towers South condominium that collapsed in Surfside last year.

“The Surfside tragedy reminds us that you never know what tomorrow will bring,” DeSantis said. “Don’t take anything for granted and make the most out of each and every day.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • PeterH

    January 11, 2022 at 1:24 pm


  • Concern Citizen

    January 11, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    62,688 Floridians have lost their lives to Covid. How many of these deaths could have been prevented if DeSantis had better policies toward the prevention of Covid?
    He will blame people such as President Biden and Dr. Fauci for not doing enough but he will NOT support their attempts to prevent the spread of Covid. If anything, he is creating barriers with lies and misinformation that run contrary to their attempts to stop Covid.
    The cry of “Give Me Liberty (freedom) Or Give Me Death” has taken on a new meaning in Florida.

    • Impeach Biden

      January 11, 2022 at 6:11 pm

      Florida is the third most populous state in the nation. Look at the death count in California and Texas and see that their numbers are higher. Basic math and proof that the shutdown in California was ineffective.

      • PeterH

        January 11, 2022 at 6:30 pm

        Fun Facts for Fake News Conspiracy Theorist:

        Per capita California has a much lower death rate than Florida. Densely populated New York was the initial epicenter for Covid, yet their per capita death rate is slightly higher than Florida. Stop your fake news comparisons.

        • Impeach Biden

          January 11, 2022 at 6:50 pm

          Concerned citizen posts the raw numbers in Florida. 62k deaths and California has 77k deaths in full lockdown. Remember the Los Angeles mayor and his wet sand vs dry sand BS? Now here you are with your per capita number. Anything to try and discredit DeSantis. Might I suggest you get yourself one of those U-Hauls delivered to Florida by many of those Californian’s leaving that safe haven. Move out there and be safe.

          • Alex

            January 11, 2022 at 7:17 pm

            Concern just kicked your ass, and you’re too stupid to know it.

          • PeterH

            January 11, 2022 at 7:26 pm

            There was NEVER a “full lockdown” or partial lockdown ANYWHERE in the USA. Residents in every state were always free to drive their car, go for a walk or bike ride, take grandma to the grocery store or grocery shop. So now that I got that fake conspiracy theory out of the way let’s address the population differences between California and Florida. Why don’t you look them up and educate yourself to comparative populations to deaths.
            Population of Florida 22 million
            Population of California 40 million

            People leave and move to California ALL THE TIME. Population loss year ending July of 2021 was 173,000 OF WHICH 56,500 was attributed to Covid-19. Hardly a rush out of the State as your friends in the right wing would like to make up!

            I’m staying right here in Florida, financially supporting any candidate who doesn’t support Trumpism and the crazy fake DeSantis and Trump lies. I’m retired, wealthy and will dump Florida when high tide hits my real estate security fence.

        • Impeach Biden

          January 11, 2022 at 7:44 pm

          No fake news. You and that dumbass Alex need to read from the top the thread. Concerned citizen posted the raw numbers of Covid deaths in the state of Florida. I counter by posting the raw numbers of Covid deaths in the state of California. Then you post per capita numbers to change the narrative of the original thread. Alex will continue with his insults and I will insult right back.

          • PeterH

            January 11, 2022 at 7:49 pm

            Ok let me put it this way. California has nearly double the population of Florida. If you compare the Florida death quantity to the California death.quantity keeping the population of each state in the comparison…..THERE WERE MORE DEATHS IN FLORIDA FROM COVID.

        • Tom

          January 12, 2022 at 3:25 pm

          Once again you lie Elmo peter h.
          Florida did not suffer full lockdowns, but several Midwest and Northeast states did. Companies, businesses, restaurants and other businesses were closed or working from home.
          You classically select the most narrow area to allow yourself whatever make believe position you wish to offer.
          You have no credibility.
          You claim we have no illegals crossing the border.

    • Alex

      January 11, 2022 at 6:33 pm

      Impeach is an ignoramus who doesn’t understand how numbers get compared across unequal quantities.

      Ignore him.

      • Impeach Biden

        January 11, 2022 at 6:51 pm

        They are there for your dumbass to view as well. Now spin 62k vs 77k with the rest of your math flunkies.

        • Alex

          January 11, 2022 at 7:15 pm

          Thank you for proving my point ignoramus.

          • Impeach Biden

            January 11, 2022 at 7:21 pm

            Reading comprehension is certainly not a strength of yours along with basic math skills

          • PeterH

            January 11, 2022 at 7:28 pm

            He’s unable to compare the death count to population! The California population is almost double the Florida population!

          • Alex

            January 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

            Yep, he’s an ignoramus, but it’s pointless to explain it because he’s convinced he’s always right.

            It’s a systemic issue in the Fox/OAN/Newsmax faithful.


      • Impeach Biden

        January 11, 2022 at 7:23 pm

        Alex you like apples? 62k vs 77k. How about them apples?

        • Alex

          January 11, 2022 at 7:25 pm


          You found yourself in a hole, and you keep digging.

  • Alex

    January 11, 2022 at 1:42 pm


    Those “freedoms” he’s talking about weren’t even mentioned in the case in the SCOTUS against mandates.


    Because Refuglicans haven’t lost any freedoms, and they knew bringing it up to even the Trump Court wouldn’t fly.

    It was all a massive lie to trigger the feelings of the idiot base.

    DeUseless lied to his followers, and he still is.

  • Sister Noir Mal, Bishop Martin Feldman Academy of Forward Vision

    January 11, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    Dear Governor DeSantis,
    Thank God and bless your heart that we have an upright certified soil-born American like you to defend the freedom of all the soil-born patriots who remain vaccine-free and clean-blooded and free now to suck in the covid-enriched air of their choice and blow it all the hell over anyone nearby, be it family, friends, fellow shoppers, hospitality workers, or those weird neighbors of ours who must have voted for Biden because they don’t have Let’s Go Brandon flags or stickers on the windows of their house much less their Toyotas. Bless your freedom loving heart! Let’s go DeSantis!

    • Sister of Perpetual Indulgence

      January 11, 2022 at 2:21 pm


      • Tom

        January 12, 2022 at 4:42 pm

        Sistas, we will get you both a oil born cucumber. You can use it to relieve the tension that you appear to be suffering from mentally. You know what I mean sistas.

  • Andy

    January 11, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    Soil born ?Did he grow out the ground like tomatoes or did he come from the womb like every other living human being on this planet.

    • Tom

      January 11, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      Too funny.

  • Ron Ogden

    January 11, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    These characters have heard the sound of the trumpets coming. Their responses are really the patter of tiny feet hurrying in fright through the drains and scum pools, in ever growing numbers, toward their inevitable and happy demise.

    • Alex

      January 11, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      “Ye shall know them by their fruits”

      Massive lies, hating your neighbor, endless poverty, rampant disease, ​hungry children, bearing false witness, worldly goods pursuit, etc…

      Republicans check all the boxes.

  • Tjb

    January 11, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    In this vanguard for freedom …. Will women have the freedom to have abortions?

    • Tom

      January 12, 2022 at 3:16 pm

      Yes, no problem!

  • Impeach Biden

    January 11, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    I see the same cats and dogs here bashing our outstanding Governor. You individuals need to pack your bags and move to the liberal enclaves with your people. Lots of U-Hauls available in Florida from those that have fled New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California amongst others.

Comments are closed.


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