Joe Gruters sees retribution in Gov. DeSantis’ vetoes of Sarasota projects

The Senator remains the only state lawmaker to back Donald Trump for President.

No community is named as frequently in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto list as Sarasota. The region’s state Senator, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, says that’s no accident.

Sen. Joe Gruters, Sarasota County’s longest serving state lawmaker, sees a political grievance in the funding cuts.

“The Governor is clearly upset I endorsed Donald Trump for President, and so he took it out on the people of Sarasota County,” said Gruters. “Trump and I understand that people come first, and it’s our job to deliver clean water, jobs and a better America for the next generation. The Governor clearly sees politics differently.”

The most notable local veto was for University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus. DeSantis killed $20 million earmarked for a STEM nursing facility, one of the biggest single projects felled by the Governor.

But the vetoes didn’t stop there. DeSantis nixed $4 million for an expansion of Fruitville Road. He killed $1.5 million designated for the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

The vetoes also included $1 million to reopen Midnight Pass, a controversial environmental project Gruters made a priority this Session.

Also lost in the shuffle was $1 million to replace aerial pipes at Alligator Creek, a significant project headed up by Sarasota County.

Additionally, Sarasota lost out on $800,000 for improvements to Whitaker Bayou and Hudson Bayou. The Sarasota Academy of the Arts had $600,000 in the budget for a campus expansion that won’t happen anymore. The same goes for $250,000 for the City of Sarasota as it reverts part of a golf course to a nature preserve, the Bobby Jones Nature Park.

DeSantis also extinguished $500,000 for a Venice fire station.

Gruters also represents Manatee County, which lost out on $1.1 million in expected funding for its public transit service to make route enhancements.

While DeSantis vetoed nearly $511 million in spending statewide, Gruters doesn’t see it as a coincidence that so many projects in his district saw the ax. To date, Gruters remains the only state lawmaker to endorse Trump for President over DeSantis. The Governor announced in May he would run for the White House, and 100 state lawmakers have endorsed him over Trump.

“Simply because I support his political opponent, the Governor chose to punish ordinary Floridians who want better water quality, less traffic congestion and increased resources for disabled children to find gainful employment,” Gruters said.

“It’s mean-spirited acts like this that are defining him here and across the country.”

DeSantis Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern told Florida’s Voice it was Gruters politicizing the vetoes.

“Senator Gruters turning conservative governance and fiscal responsibility into a political statement is absurd,” he told the conservative website. “Governor DeSantis approved more than $155 million for Sarasota County, including $25 million for New College of Florida.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Michael K

    June 15, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    Ron Dee is nothing more than a petty little autocrat who takes perverse pleasure in torture and restricting human rights.

  • Richard Wall

    June 15, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    “Trump and I understand that people come first, and it’s our job to deliver clean water, jobs and a better America for the next generation.” The only thing the lazy fat slob Trump cares about is himself. Desantis is just another charlatan/phony christian.

  • DeSantis supporters hate America.

    June 15, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    DeSantis supporters literally hate freedom.
    They like him because they want a Big Daddy to tell them what they can and can’t do. They want a dictator to run their lives because they’re too damn stupid to do in on their own.

    • Dillon

      June 16, 2023 at 7:46 am

      Possibly the dumbest post ever.

  • Earl Pitts American

    June 15, 2023 at 8:09 pm

    Good evening America and the voters in Joe Gruters district,
    One of these days I, Earl Pitts American, may sit down with your Joe Gruters and explain to Joe how politics work.
    Try as everyone may Desantis is not to blaim for Joe Gruters selling out his constituancy. Joe Gruters is directly to blaim. And indirectly those citizens that elected Gruters are to blaim.
    Joe hint: The Donald understands politics and would have understand you not selling out your constituancy by not supporting The Donald like you did in the “In Desantis Face” method you so foolishly chose to do.
    Shame on you Joe Gruters for what YOU did to your constituancy. Honestly you screwed up so sophmorically you likely should just leave politics and return to the private sector.
    Goodbye Joe Gruters I, Earl Pitts American have decided not to have that little talk with you because you wont need my wisdom in the private sector.
    Earl Pitts American

  • Linda

    June 15, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    A lot of these projects, especially the nursing school, seem more important than an ill-defined graduate school, an oversized salary for the President of New College, or flights to Martha’s Vineyard/California on charters. Let’s spend taxpayer money on services that are badly needed right now.

  • Ed Slaveen Dot Com 👍

    June 15, 2023 at 11:15 pm

    Trump is only his political opponent in his mind and in the mind of Trump. In reality, there aren’t enough sub-apes to get either one of them elected in 2024… just like 2020. The Trump train wreck still burns and DeSantis whacko laws and right wing police state propaganda has him cooked.

  • It's Complicated

    June 16, 2023 at 9:58 am

    The reality is policy wonks and bureaucrats within state agencies examine these appropriations and make value judgements – leading to approval/veto recommendations to the EOG. It really is up to the proponents of the funding to convince the people doing this analysis about the purpose and value of each project. The agencies and EOG want to see/hear a concise and well-thought-out plan for implementation, and need to be convinced there is a problem the appropriation and project is going to solve.

    Once the appropriation is in the budget, almost no one (who understands the process) seeking the appropriation expects the sponsoring House or Senate member to be much of a player in this process, other than to send a letter of support to the Governor. There are certainly exceptions to that idea, but generally speaking, that’s how it works. Based upon these realities it’s silly to affix blame on Sen. Gruters or to ascribe motive to Governor DeSantis in this process.

  • shorty

    June 16, 2023 at 10:30 am

    Letting constituents suffer while he campaigns against wokeness shows how unfit for office he is. Cruelty is the point

Comments are closed.


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