DeSantis touts Florida’s economy and tough-on-crime approach in State of the State address


Gov. Ron DeSantis touted Florida’s strong economy and low crime rate while blasting the Biden administration’s “catch and release” immigration policies in his State of the State address Tuesday — fueling speculation that the Republican has his eyes set on the White House in 2024. 

“Florida is No. 1, and working together, we will ensure that Florida remains the No. 1 state in the United States,” DeSantis told Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee. 

“Working together, we have met big challenges, and we led the nation on many big issues. We don’t make excuses. We don’t complain. We just produce results,” the popular governor added. 

In his roughly 20-minute-long speech, clocking in almost 50 minutes shorter than President Biden’s State of the Union address last month, DeSantis called Florida the fastest-growing state in the nation.

With him as its chief executive, Florida ranked No. 1 in net in-migration, new business formations and economic growth among large states, he said.

Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis told Florida lawmakers Tuesday that they “ain’t seen nothing yet.”
AFP via Getty Images

DeSantis, who was re-elected in a landslide last November, highlighted that Florida has more people employed now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the lowest unemployment rates on record, at 2.7%. 

He also boasted that in the last two years, the state has seen its largest budget surpluses in history while having the lowest per capita state tax and lowest per capita state debt burden among large states. 

“And, maybe most famously, we rank number one for protections of our citizens against the biomedical security state, from prohibiting ‘jab or job’ mandates to banning vaccine passports to ensuring hospital visitation rights,” DeSantis added. 

“We defied the experts, we buck the elites, we ignored the chatter, we did it our way, the Florida way. And the result is that we are the number one destination for our fellow Americans who are looking for a better life,” he said.

The 44-year-old Florida governor lauded his state’s crime rate, just a week after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was ousted by voters over her handling of rampant crime in the Illinois Democratic stronghold. 

“We are number one in law enforcement recruitment and support. Florida’s crime rate stands at a 50-year low,” DeSantis said. 

Lori Lightfoot
DeSantis lauded his state’s “50-year low” crime rate, just a week after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was ousted by voters.
Getty Images

“Florida’s proud to stand for law and order,” DeSantis declared. “We are tough on crime and we support the men and women of law enforcement. And we have made it very clear to prosecutors who believe they can disregard the law, you will be held accountable.”

While never mentioning Biden, 80, by name directly, DeSantis ripped the administration’s policies as contributing to illegal immigration. 

“We believe that borders matter and we have fought against illegal immigration in the state of Florida from banning sanctuary cities to suing the Biden administration over its catch-and-release policies to transporting illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions. We have put Floridians first and we will continue to do that,” DeSantis argued. 

The governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, a breast cancer survivor, drew the loudest applause of the speech when her husband praised her work in “Florida’s battle against cancer” and announced that she is “cancer free.”

Casey DeSantis
The Florida governor announced that his wife, Casey DeSantis, is “cancer free.”

“I was here last year saying we would be able to announce that she was cancer free, and I can tell you she is cancer free and she is doing better than ever,” DeSantis said to cheers. 

The governor’s speech comes amid a busy travel schedule signaling a strong likelihood that he will launch a 2024 presidential primary campaign later this year.     

He visited Texas and California over the weekend, hosting fundraisers, and later this week will head to Alabama and Iowa before paying a visit to the key swing state of Nevada over the weekend and New Hampshire later this month.

Donald Trump
DeSantis and former President Donald Trump are the two top potential 2024 GOP presidential primary candidates, polls show.
Ron Sachs – CNP/Sipa USA

Former President Donald Trump, who announced his third White House run last November, is the frontrunner among 2024 GOP presidential candidates with an average of 45% support in early polls, according to RealClearPolitics

DeSantis is the 76-year-old former president’s most formidable adversary, averaging 29% support, per RealClearPolitics. 

“We will stand strong. We will hold the line. We won’t back down. And I can promise you this: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” DeSantis said at the end of his address.


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