‘Freedom lives here’: Gov. Ron DeSantis defends parental rights in fiery inauguration speech

(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was sworn in Tuesday after overwhelmingly winning a second term in November.

Accompanied by his wife, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and their three…

(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was sworn in Tuesday after overwhelmingly winning a second term in November.

Accompanied by his wife, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and their three young children, DeSantis’ inauguration was attended by a capacity crowd of supporters.

The inauguration ball was a candlelit dinner, and included ‘A Toast to One Million Mamas’ held by the First Lady in recognition of the 1.1 million women who supported her husband.

The governor reviewed his achievements over the past four years and offered a glimpse of what is to come in his second term. DeSantis stressed the need for tax cuts for Floridians amid growing inflation, introducing family-friendly policies and seeking to put an end to those who would endanger the lives and innocence of children.

DeSantis called Florida the land of liberty and the land of sanity – both he said are reasons why Florida has become an attractive spot to raise a family.

“We will always remain a law-and-order state, we will always support law enforcement, and we will always reject ‘soft on crime’ policies that put our communities at risk. We will defend our children from those who seek to rob them of their innocence,” DeSantis said, which was met with a standing ovation.

DeSantis added that while other states locked down their residents, Florida was a refuge during the pandemic. He pointed out the many differences between Florida’s response during COVID-19 and Democrat-led states’ responses.

“These last few years have witnessed a great test of governing philosophies. As many jurisdictions pursued a much different path than we have pursued here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “The policies pursued by these states have sparked a mass exodus of productive Americans from these jurisdictions, with Florida serving as the most desired destination, a promise land of sanity.”

DeSantis was heavily criticized for his response to COVID-19 both from Democratic leaders and some Republicans in and out of Florida. DeSantis said those same leaders were busy wastefully spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars while putting public safety at risk.

“Many of these cities and states have embraced a faddish ideology at the expense of enduring principals. They’ve harmed public safety, coddling criminals and attacking law enforcement, they’ve imposed unreasonable burdens on taxpayers to finance unfathomable levels of public spending,” DeSantis said.

“They have harmed education by subordinating the interests of students and parents to partisan interest groups. They have imposed medical authoritarianism in the guise of pandemic mandates and restrictions that lack a scientific basis,” he added. DeSantis was one of the few leaders to keep children in public schools during the pandemic.

“Leaders do not follow – they lead,” DeSantis said.

The Florida governor did not hint at whether he is running for president in 2024, and instead focused on his state and the issues facing Floridians that are, according to DeSantis, a direct result of the leadership of the Biden administration – one of the biggest being illegal immigration.

The governor also touched on the “woke” ideologies spreading through academia, and the Democrat-controlled White House.

“We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy,” DeSantis said. “We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.

“Freedom lives here in our great Sunshine State of Florida.”