Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to get “the Florida political apparatus involved” in local School Board races, and that apparently is no empty promise.
The administration made an early move in a group of School Board races Monday, with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor endorsing a swath of candidates from around the state.
“We need strong local school board members who are committed to advancing our agenda to put students first and protect parents’ rights. I am proud to endorse 10 local school board candidates who will set our children up for success,” DeSantis tweeted.
“Excited to announce the endorsement of these school board candidates across Florida. With a strong pro-student and pro-parent agenda, these future school board members will ensure our children are educated and not indoctrinated,” tweeted Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez.
The endorsements spanned the state.
In Alachua County, Nuñez endorsed Mildred Russell, who DeSantis appointed to the School Board last year.
In Brevard County, the LG backed Megan Wright, who is running to fight for “parental rights.”
Nuñez endorsed two Duval candidates. One is incumbent Charlotte Joyce, who failed to get a resolution of support for DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education bill through this year. The other, April Carney, is challenging Elizabeth Andersen for a seat that clearly is a target for conservative activists.
Nuñez also endorsed Timothy Enos and Bridget Ziegler of Sarasota County.
Ziegler is married to Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler. DeSantis, when he accepted his Sarasota GOP’s Statesman of the Year award last year, called her out from the audience and said we need School Board members like her in every district.
Roberto Alonso and Monica Colucci of Miami-Dade, and Fred Lowry of Volusia County, were also in the first wave of endorsements.
The endorsements come just days after the Governor offered a survey of how candidates felt about the so-called DeSantis Education Agenda.
Among the questions for survey respondents: Whether they support “workforce education,” the Governor’s “increases in teacher compensation,” or the concept of students being “locked out of school or subject to forced masking.”
“What should your school district do to better prepare students as citizens?” another prompt asks.
Another question regards protecting dissent: “How will you protect a parent’s right to publicly disagree with their school board?”
Respondents are also probed on critical race theory and “the horrors of communism.”
DeSantis has put limitations on School Boards with regularity thus far, battling with numerous local bodies about COVID-19 precautions for much of the pandemic.
He signed legislation that puts term limits on School Board members, but lamented the three-term limit was one too many, and criticized School Boards and the White House for not listening to parents.