Ron DeSantis’ beef with boots — and how that relates to his critique of big government’
Image via AP.

DeSantis boots
DeSantis recounted youthful complications with OSHA rules in a stump speech.

Florida’s Governor is digging into the crates of personal anecdotes during his New Hampshire campaign swing, explaining how he learned as a youth that government is “imposing” and makes people “poorer.”

In Salem Thursday, Ron DeSantis related a Reaganesque yarn about how he as a “working-class kid” was forced to buy OSHA-compliant boots for one of his first jobs, a story familiar to those who might have read his best-selling memoir “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.

“My first full-time job was, I think I was 18. I was an assistant for an electrician in an electrical company. And I actually learned something about government on that one because I showed up to work the first day,” DeSantis related.

“I’m all decked out (in) what I thought was like good electrical garb. And they looked at me and they started looking to see, you know, they were inspecting my boots and I didn’t know what they were doing,” DeSantis added.

The bosses told him to “go home,” which perplexed young DeSantis.

“They’re like, ‘We don’t know if your boots are OSHA approved or not. We can’t let you work if they’re not.'”

From there, DeSantis “figured out” that OSHA meant the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“And so I had to go buy a new pair and it cost me my entire first week’s salary to buy boots that I didn’t really need. So what it taught me was, you know, government was imposing something. I don’t think it made me any safer,” DeSantis said. “It did make me a little bit poorer as a young kid trying to get by.”

The narrative in Salem is roughly the same as the literary version, though the book had more flourishes, including a reference to the federal government’s “regulatory Leviathan.”

For DeSantis, who is embarking on the most robust speech schedule of his career, having a book full of anecdotes handy offers a way to liven up otherwise repetitive stump speeches.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • MG

    June 1, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    OsHA is for safety.tobwkrkers. Its mmore that shoes. DeSantos when employees start getting hurt what how will medical bills get paid. That makes people poorer.
    What makes people poorer is how they spend money giving to canidates like you.

    • Matthias Ponds

      June 1, 2023 at 3:53 pm

      I know exactly what desantis went thru but in my home of Germany the company has to supply all the work outfits required and they might deduct a percentage of your income to pay back but not much…maybe 30dollars for your whole outfit

    • Lisa Holsom

      June 1, 2023 at 9:14 pm

      OSHA is a joke!!

  • Michael K

    June 1, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    What a moron. He probably showed up in stiletto heels or open toed sandals. Yep, let’s do away with any and all safety regulations, and child labor laws.

    • SM

      June 1, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      He showed up in those high white boots of his and they told him it wasn’t a job for a go-go dancer.

  • Gosett

    June 1, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    He,s just someone that thinks everyone has to be like him????

  • PeterH

    June 1, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    What employer wouldn’t tell an 18 year old on his very first job about his clothing requirements. This story sounds fishy and I hope CNN investigates to see if Ron ever worked in an electrical store.

  • Drag Shows Are Fun & Safe

    June 1, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    Is that a Nancy Sinatra drag outfit?

  • Tjb

    June 2, 2023 at 11:24 am

    Ron bitches about government controls, but his agenda is full of laws and agenda controlling what we read, availability of abortions, drag shows, just to names a few … DeSantis is big government

  • MH/Duuuval

    June 2, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    In an early summer job I worked as a ship fitter helper and sheetmetal mechanic at a local shipyard. ALL employees were required to wear steel-toed shoes and a hard hat. This was a year before OSHA was created. The company’s insurance underwriters and decades of yardbird experience pinpointed the head and feet as most vulnerable. No flip flops or tennis shoes allowed — and no exceptions, Ron.

  • Amy Roberts

    June 3, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    I think I was 18? Everyone remembers how old they were for their first job. Not buying into this contrived story. No one knows very much, if anything about both the Gov or his wife’s life before adulthood. Everything about them is calculated to further their greed for power and money.

Comments are closed.


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