Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, Florida is the most pro-parent, pro-student state in the nation. His policies ensure that every student in Florida has the opportunity to get a quality education. The Governor has provided historic levels of investment in Florida’s K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Because of this, Florida’s ranking for K-12 student achievement is 3rd in the nation, according to Education Week’s Quality Counts 2021 Report. Florida also ranks 1st in the nation for higher education, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
1. Putting Kids First and Protecting Parent's' Rights
- Keep Schools Open and Reject Lockdowns - Educate, Don’t Indoctrinate - Ensure Parental Rights in Education and Keep Woke Gender Ideology Out of Schools - Support Robust Civics Education - Expand Workforce Development and Technical Education - Reject the Use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the Curriculum - Increase Teacher Pay - Continue Support for School Security and Mental Health Initiatives - Protect the Right of Parents to Petition School Boards and Districts for Redress of Grievances - Guarantee the Right of Parents to Curriculum Transparency
2. Prioritizing Students
Florida led the way by putting students’ needs first. In the summer of 2020, when the media and teachers’ unions advocated lockdowns, Governor DeSantis kept our schools open. As a result, millions of students in Florida did not experience the same learning loss as locked-down states.
3. Parental Rights
Governor DeSantis protected parental rights in education:
- Banned classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender ideology for K-3rd grade - Signed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, prohibiting the state, or any other governmental entity, from infringing on a parent’s ability to decide what is best for their child - Required school districts to notify parents if there is a change in their child’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being - Ensured school districts are transparent in the selection of curriculum materials, including library books and reading materials - Prohibited school districts from force masking students
“In Florida, we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is Critical Race Theory. We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.” – Governor Ron DeSantis
4. Education, Not Indoctrination
Governor DeSantis has taken a strong stance against any school imposing divisive “what to think not how to think” concepts on their students. The Governor banned educators from teaching students Critical Race Theory (CRT), strengthened civics education and financial literacy, and eliminated Common Core in Florida.
5. World-class Higher Education System
Florida boasts five of the top 100 public universities in the country and charges one of the lowest in-state tuitions in the nation for public four-year institutions. Governor DeSantis expanded eligibility for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program to ensure our best and brightest Floridians can pursue higher education, and for four straight years, he banned tuition hikes for Florida colleges and universities. The Governor is also holding educators accountable by requiring tenured faculty to undergo a review every five years.
6. Saving Women’s Sports
Governor DeSantis signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act in 2021, preserving opportunities for female athletes by ensuring biological women are competing against biological women. He also signed a proclamation that declared Sarasota native Emma Weyant the rightful NCAA champion for the 500-yard freestyle over biological male Lia Thomas.
7. Expanding School Choice
Thanks to Governor DeSantis, Florida’s school choice options annually allow more than one million students to learn and grow in an educational setting that best fits their needs and is not just based on their zip code. In May of 2021, Governor DeSantis signed House Bill 7045, the largest expansion of school choice in the nation. This legislation provides more education opportunities for low-income families and students with unique abilities and prioritizes military, foster, and adopted students. Governor DeSantis expanded the state’s private school voucher program by $200 million and created scholarships like the Family Empowerment Scholarship which allows K-12 students with unique abilities and low-income students the option to attend private school.
8. Investing in Students and Teachers
- Florida now has the highest-ever investment per student - The Governor provided a historic total of $24.3 billion for K-12 public education this year, which raised teacher pay and improved school safety initiatives - Last year, Florida teachers received $1,000 bonuses for their hard work - Governor DeSantis allocated $800 million in this year’s budget to teacher pay raises, raising the teacher average base salary to $48,000 per year - Trained more than 2,500 teachers in three-day civics bootcamps, and these teachers will each receive $3,000 bonuses
Thanks to Governor DeSantis’s commitment to Keeping Florida Free, Florida businesses remained open through the pandemic, Florida leads the nation in new business formations, and Florida’s labor force has grown at a faster rate than the national average.
1. Breaking Records
- Florida welcomed nearly 118 million domestic visitors in 2021, the highest level in state history - In 2021, Florida’s market share of overseas travelers was 44.6% of the nation’s total, the highest any state has ever achieved - The FY 2021-2022 state surplus tops $21.8 billion, the highest in state history, ensuring Florida is prepared for President Biden’s recession
2. Largest Tax Relief Package in Florida's History
Inflation is an invisible tax weighing on families across Florida and the nation. Governor DeSantis is fighting back against Biden’s reckless policies with the largest tax relief package in Florida history, providing more than $1.2 billion of tax relief for Florida families.
Ten Sales Tax Holidays, including: - One-month fuel tax holiday - Three-month sales tax holiday on children’s books -One-year sales tax holiday on children’s diapers and baby and toddler clothing -14-day back to school sales tax holiday -14-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday
3. Prioritizing Infrastructure
Governor DeSantis secured historic levels of funding for infrastructure projects. With fewer people on the roads in 2020, Governor DeSantis used this time to accelerate critical infrastructure projects such as the I-4 Ultimate Project. Infrastructure funding for FY 2022–2023 includes: - $4.4 billion for highway construction, to include 180 new lane miles - $135 million in seaport infrastructure enhancements - $314 million for aviation improvements - $400 million to expand broadband internet access in rural and underserved areas - $30 million for the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rural Infrastructure Fund
4. Workforce Development
In 2019, Governor DeSantis set the goal of making Florida the number one state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has allocated $3.5 billion for workforce education and training initiatives. He has required an annual review of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses to ensure that course offerings are aligned with market demands. Since 2018, our Florida colleges and district technical colleges have awarded over 500,000 workforce certificates and degrees. Florida has also added more than 50 new apprenticeship programs since 2019. Initiatives like these allow students to enter the workforce in high-demand fields without mounting debt. Additionally, Governor DeSantis is working to ensure affordable housing options for our labor force by putting $363 million toward affordable housing initiatives, the highest funding level in 15 years.
5. Rural Communities
Governor DeSantis visited all 67 counties in Florida during his first term in office, and he is investing in rural communities across Florida. Governor DeSantis created the Broadband Opportunity Program to expand broadband internet in rural and underserved areas. This year, $30 million has been allocated to the Rural Infrastructure Fund. These infrastructure projects will encourage job creation and capital investment in rural economies.
"Florida has preserved freedom and kept the economy open, which has enabled the state to outperform the nation in jobs, growth, and business formations." – Governor Ron DeSantis
“Everyone pivoted, they adjusted their business model to stay open. We were given that ability because of Ron DeSantis. He was allowing us, as business owners, to make those decisions.” – Steve, Coral Gables
Florida communities are ranked among the safest in the nation, and Governor DeSantis is committed to supporting law enforcement and first responders. He signed the most comprehensive pro-law enforcement legislation in the nation, prohibiting defunding the police. If local governments try to defund law enforcement, the Governor and the Cabinet can override them and reinstate the funding. Florida law prohibits employers, including state law enforcement agencies, from imposing vaccine mandates. These policies are leading law enforcement officers from around the country to relocate to work in the Sunshine State.
1. Historic State Law Enforcement Pay Package
- 15% average pay increase - $50,000 minimum salary - $15 million towards increased compensation for sheriff deputies and county correctional officers in rural communities
2. Strongest Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Package in the Nation
- $5,000 bonuses to new law enforcement officers - Scholarship opportunities for training courses taken by officers relocating from other states
3. Combating The Border Crisis
Governor DeSantis banned sanctuary cities, and in 2021, he deployed state law enforcement to help secure the southern border, becoming the first state to answer Texas and Arizona’s call for assistance. Under Joe Biden, dangerous drugs like fentanyl are freely flowing across the southern border, creating a nationwide drug and opioid crisis. Fentanyl is now the top killer of adults ages 18-45. To combat the crisis, Governor DeSantis increased the sentence for trafficking fentanyl and added methamphetamine to the list of drugs eligible for life in prison for those who sell them and cause the loss of a life. First Lady Casey DeSantis launched a statewide public messaging campaign to inform the public of the dangers of fentanyl and is educating youth on the life-altering effects of drug use through her The Facts. Your Future. initiative. This initiative reinvents how substance abuse is taught in schools from “Just say no to drugs” to “Just say no to drugs, and here’s why.”
4. Stopping Violent Riots
The Governor signed hallmark anti-riot legislation, the Combating Public Disorder Act, which holds those committing crimes during violent protests accountable and supports law enforcement officials who risk their lives to keep our communities safe. In the wake of ongoing rioting across the country, Florida took a zero-tolerance policy toward violent and disorderly protests. Governor DeSantis increased penalties for crimes committed during violent assembly, including battery on law enforcement officers, and created penalties for destroying monuments and historic property.
5. Florida State Guard
In 2022, the Governor re-established the Florida State Guard to enhance Florida’s emergency response efforts. The Governor secured $10 million in the 2022-2023 budget to support 400 civilian volunteer members of the State Guard.
“While other parts of the country are mistreating, marginalizing, and defunding law enforcement, in Florida we continue to prioritize and appreciate our law enforcement officers.” – Governor Ron DeSantis
6. Governor Desantis Has Been Endorsed By Major First Responder Groups: - Florida Fraternal Order of Police - Florida Police Chiefs Association - Florida Police Benevolent Association - Florida Professional Firefighters"
Florida’s natural resources will be protected for generations to come because of Governor DeSantis’s focus on providing historic funding to protect our environment.
1. Everglades Restoration
Since 2019, nearly 50 Everglades restoration projects have broken ground, hit a major milestone, or finished construction. These projects include: - EAA Reservoir Project to send clean water south, while reducing damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee. This project started a year ahead of schedule. - Raising the Tamiami Trail to increase the flow of clean, fresh water south. The roadbed removal was completed six months ahead of schedule. - Broke ground on C-43 Reservoir to intercept and store water released from Lake Okeechobee and local stormwater runoff. - Completed and activated the C-44 Stormwater Treatment Area, which can store 50,000 acre-feet of water and will reduce harmful algal blooms.
Governor DeSantis pledged to secure $2.5 billion over four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources, and he surpassed this goal by $800 million, for a total of $3.3 billion over four years.
2. Red Tide & Blue-Green Algae
Governor DeSantis is committed to combatting red tide and harmful algal blooms. He restored the Red Tide Task Force in 2019, which had been dormant for over 15 years. Since he took office, over $40 million has been invested to combat red tide and aid local governments in cleanup efforts. In 2019, Governor DeSantis created the Blue-Green Algae Task Force to ensure that objective and sound science informs Florida’s environmental decision process.
3. Office of Accountability
The Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency was created to organize and direct scientific research and analysis, address environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians, and ensure environmental objectives are clearly communicated to the public. Governor DeSantis appointed the state’s first Chief Science Officer to lead the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency.
4. Resilient Florida Program
In 2021, the Resilient Florida Program was established to better prepare Florida’s coastal and inland communities for the impacts of intensified storms and flooding. Since 2019, $1.1 billion has been secured for resiliency planning and projects. The Governor created the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection and appointed the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer.
5. Invasive Species
Over the last four years Governor DeSantis invested $5.6 million in python removal efforts. To combat the invasive species, over 17,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from the state since 2000, more than half of which have been removed since Governor DeSantis took office. The Florida Python Challenge®, an annual ten-day conservation effort in the Everglades to remove these predators, had more than 600 registrants last year.
6. Florida Wildlife Corridor
Governor DeSantis signed the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act into law, officially designating the Florida Wildlife Corridor as a network of connected conservation lands with a goal of permanently connecting land to allow wildlife to move safely throughout the state, unimpeded. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was directed to invest in land acquisition and conservation easements to address habitat loss and fragmentation, enhancing areas critical to wildlife survival. Three hundred million dollars was appropriated for the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and since 2019, over 100,000 acres within the corridor have been acquired.
7. Manatee Protection
More than $50 million has been dedicated to manatee protection during Governor DeSantis’s administration to enhance and restore manatee habitats. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with partners like SeaWorld, are working to nurse manatees back to health and return them to the wild.