Aug 22, 2022
Gov. DeSantis speaks in Sarasota 8/21/22 Transcript
Ron DeSantis: (00:20)
Hello, Sarasota. Aren’t you glad that we live in a free state? Are you guys going to make sure we keep it that way this November? Well, I’m excited to be here. I’m excited for you all to be here, because, yes, November is going to be important but we’ve got some work to do this Tuesday, because I think we’ve seen around the country and, unfortunately, even here in Florida, that if you elect these leftists to these school boards, they can do a lot of damage. They want to impose an ideology on our school children. We believe in education, not indoctrination. We believe that parents have a fundamental role in the education and upbringing of their children. We support schools, both charter schools, school districts, private schools, home school, we support everything in Florida but a school or a district does not supersede the rights of parents.
Ron DeSantis: (01:38)
The role is to support parents and support students, and we just need to make sure that we continue that here in the state of Florida. The candidates that we have from Sarasota, in particular, [inaudible 00:01:51] here, very important. How many of you have voted in the primary so far? Okay. How many of you are going to vote on Tuesday?
Ron DeSantis: (02:05)
I think that was everybody but if you didn’t raise your hand, you better show up on Tuesday. The thing is it’s not just … I mean, it’s a primary election but it’s open to everybody and it doesn’t even matter, because I’ll tell you, the things that we’ve done, that the media didn’t like, like parents’ rights in education, it’s not a partisan issue to look after our kids, so you’re going to be able to get, of course, Republicans, Independents, you are going to be able to get Democrats that are going to want to vote for school board candidates who understand parents’ rights and who understand that we need education, not indoctrination.
Ron DeSantis: (02:42)
It’s important that we all show up. It’s important that we vote. You’ve got Bridget, who I just saw, who is doing a remarkable job. Tim Enos and Robyn Marinelli, where are they at? Are they here? Yup. We need you guys to come out and support our Sarasota candidates. I think it’s very, very important. We also have folks from Manatee. Are they here? Cindy Spray, Chad Choate, and Colonel Richard Tatem. Are you guys here? All right. Okay. Good. Manatee County, very, very important.
Ron DeSantis: (03:20)
Then we have from Hillsborough, Patty Rendon and [inaudible 00:03:25]. Where are they at? Are they here? Okay. Then finally, from down in Lee County, Sam Fisher and Armor Persons. They should be here as well, right? Okay.
Speaker 1: (03:36)
Ron DeSantis: (03:39)
Good. Hopefully, you all win. We want to see you win. You know, in the state of Florida, one of the things that no one can dispute is I promised I would do things and I have delivered on those promises. We said, we promised, that we would eliminate Common Core, and we did. We promised that we would eliminate the FSA, and we did. We promised to take Florida from one of the bottom 25 states in workforce education and make it by the end of the decade the number one state for workforce education, and we are ahead of schedule on accomplishing that. It’s very important, because, look, I am fine …
Ron DeSantis: (04:50)
In fact, one of the things we’ve been able to do in higher education here in the state of Florida, since I’ve been governor, there have been zero tuition increases at our state universities. You can actually afford to go as a Florida resident. It’s not something that’s going to cost you $100,000 in debt. Tuition is about $6000 to $6400, depending on the institution and we’ve basically drawn that and said, “Okay, deliver it” because when they raise tuition, all they do is expand the bureaucracy and expand the bloat and we don’t need that.
Ron DeSantis: (05:25)
Now our higher education is ranked number one in the country, public, by US News and World Report. We’re working hard to do better. We just signed legislation this year that starting now, all tenured professors must undergo review every five years. They can be let go.
Ron DeSantis: (05:51)
You know, we’re proud of that pathway, we’re proud it’s affordable, we’re proud it’s high quality but we’ve also been very clear that a four year brick and ivy education is not the only pathway to success. We’ve embraced vocational, career education, and all you got to do is look around the economy now and see how much they’ll pay new truck drivers, see how much they’ll pay people for welding and HVAC and electrical, particularly, in a state that’s growing and continues to need all this stuff, it’s very, very important.
Ron DeSantis: (06:23)
What we’ve done is we’ve expanded pathways, apprentices. A lot of students can get credentialed in high school now in the state of Florida and have job offers right after that. We’re not saying you have to do that. We’re not saying you have to do the other but you’re not better than anyone just because you have a four year degree. Okay? There’s a lot of other good ways to go.
Ron DeSantis: (06:49)
I will say, in my generation, people would always say, “You will not be successful unless you get a college degree” and that was not true for them to say but what it caused people to do is it caused people that may not have had a real clear vision about what they wanted to do with their career to just go to a university, sometimes take five or six years to get a bachelor’s degree, go $100,000 in debt, your degree is in zombie studies and then what? The sea doesn’t part for you and a lot of people ended up in jobs they could have had out of high school.
Ron DeSantis: (07:24)
All we’re saying is just there’s more than one pathway for success, don’t think that just that piece of paper means so much. It’s what’s behind that piece of paper. Look, if you go $100,000 in debt and you get an engineering degree from MIT, you’re going to be okay. I’m not going to sit here and say otherwise. But some of these fourth tier universities that charge an arm and a leg and are producing a really poor product, people should just know there’s other ways to succeed.
Ron DeSantis: (07:52)
We’re proud of what we’ve done in workforce. We’re going to continue working hard on workforce. We’re not going to let them say that somehow this is not something that we need in this state, because we do.
Ron DeSantis: (08:03)
We also promised that we would lead in increased pay for teachers. You know, the Democrats always talk about it, they never do it, so we just did the largest teacher compensation increase in Florida history in this most recent budget. What we’re doing, especially, is focusing a lot of that on increasing the average minimum pay because if you want to recruit new people to come in, particularly, talented college graduates, you’ve got to do better. I think we went statewide average was like $40,000. Now it’s going to be over $48,000 and Sarasota, it’s a lot higher than that.
Ron DeSantis: (08:45)
You know, this is part of what we’re doing to make sure that we can attract the best and brightest. We’re also doing aggressive on teacher recruitment. They’re talking about how nationwide, there’s a shortage of teachers and we have positions that need to be filled. We have less on a per capita basis than states like California and a lot of these other places for sure.
Ron DeSantis: (09:05)
But nevertheless, this is something that we’ve been sensitive to for a number of years. Well, we just signed legislation that was passed unanimously by the Florida legislature that said if you are a military veteran who has served four years on active duty, you have an honorable discharge, you have at least 60 credit hours of credit under your belt, 2.5 GPA or better, and you pass the subject matter exam, we want you to be eligible to be able to teach in our schools. That will allow them to have a probationary certification, obviously, they’ll work to get the four year degree but, you know, sitting in a classroom and listening to some professor bloviate is not necessarily making people good teachers.
Ron DeSantis: (09:58)
You know, a lot of what being a good teacher is having the heart for it, but also life experience. These Marines who’ve seen a lot, our soldiers, our sailors, I think it’s important for young kids, and as the father of young kids, I think my kids and your kids, you have a veteran in the classroom, that’s someone they can look up to, that’s someone that they can learn from.
Ron DeSantis: (10:27)
We’re proud of that. As I said, everyone in the legislature voted for it. The media has lately been trying to act like this is a bad thing. There’s actually someone here in I think it was Sarasota, somebody with a union that said, “Oh, this is bad. You can’t just put anyone, some warm body in front of the class.” Our veterans aren’t just some warm body. They’re people that have served this country and they’ve done well.
Ron DeSantis: (11:02)
We’ve also expanded parental choice, school choice for people all throughout the state of Florida. You now have … We have 1.3 million students that are in some type of choice program, whether a private scholarship, whether a charter school or whether choice within a school district. That’s a massive number of people. When I was growing up in Florida, wherever you lived, you went to the neighborhood school and that was that, even if that school wasn’t meeting your needs or wasn’t what the parent wanted.
Ron DeSantis: (11:34)
Well, now we’ve empowered parents and what has the result of that been? When you empower parents, when you expand opportunity, the most recent NAEP scores, which is the only one that everyone takes nationwide, ranked Florida, according to the Urban Institute, which is a left-leaning group, if you control for demographics, it ranked Florida number on in the country for fourth grade reading and fourth grade math. And the most …
Ron DeSantis: (12:03)
And the most recent rankings from Education Week for K-12 achievement, ranked Florida number three in the nation for K-12 achievement. So that speaks for itself. And we want to continue on that progress. Unfortunately, and COVID exposed a lot of this, parents started to have to be more involved in the kind of the little nitty-gritty of the curriculum. And a lot of parents were very concerned about what they saw all throughout this country. Parents, and I think students, and I think Floridians want our school system to be about educating kids, not indoctrinating kids.
Ron DeSantis: (12:51)
And we’ve been happy to lead this fight. Of course, we were the ones… I mean, if you go back two years, we were the only one of the few states that had kids in school at all. We said more than two years ago, we needed to have kids in school. Every parent had the right to send their kid in-person five days a week. We were not going to shut the schoolhouse door on particularly our vulnerable kids. Because you know what they would do in places like California, they locked the kids out of school, but the politicians and the bureaucrats who were locking down would send their kids to private school in-person. You know, I don’t begrudge them making the best decisions that they want for their kids. But how do you do that on one hand and then drop the hammer on many working class parents on the other? The destruction that they did, because what they did was they subcontracted out their responsibility to lead to special interests like unions. They didn’t want to be in school. And so they bowed down to those special interests. And the consequences, they didn’t give a damn about the consequences. I said from the very beginning, first of all, the data was very clear. Schools were needed to be open. But second of all, the damage that would happen by not having kids in-person instruction, activity, athletics, all these different things was going to set us back years. And that’s exactly what you’re seeing in places like California and Chicago and all these other places. And so when I… I just think it’s important for the record. When I came out, this was over two years ago, I think it was like June of 2020, and said, “No question, every school district is going to be open. We’re going back.” We were attacked by corporate media. We were attacked by unions. We were attacked by Democrats. I mean, even some weak Republicans were criticizing me. Sad to say.
Ron DeSantis: (14:55)
Sad to say. And so we were really standing up against the tide. We were standing up against a lot of arrows. But at the end of the day my job was to look out for those students and those parents. And it wasn’t about me. And they could hit me all they want and whatever the consequences of that were, were fine. I wasn’t trying to cling to office. I was willing to put my neck out and sacrifice my standing to help those kids. And the result though, has been we were right and they were wrong. But you think about it’s obvious now, here in Florida, we don’t even think twice about it because it was just… we just approached all this much differently. I would have people tell me over the last couple years, if they visited Florida from a lockdown jurisdiction, that it was almost like coming from east to west Berlin. You were like looking, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, people are actually living their life. They’re not all holed up and covered. People aren’t having to wear mask all the time.” Imagine that.
Ron DeSantis: (16:23)
And you see though, the consequence of that, it’s still with us. They just put out some research now. If you look at things like clearly Florida, we need people coming to the state to visit and stuff, hospitality, tourism, big part of our economy. If you look at places like Naples, I think Tampa, Sarasota, Miami, for a lot of those places, restaurant reservations compared to 2019, were up like 30, 40%, a lot of these places. But you look at places like Minneapolis, down 50%. Chicago, down. New York, down. All this stuff down because they don’t respect people’s freedoms. They don’t keep their streets safe. People don’t want to go do it. And for a long time, and I think maybe some of them still have it, they wanted to do vaccine passports. I mean, you want to go and you want to go have dinner somewhere. And so in order to get some salmon, you have to show medical papers. We ban that in the state of Florida very early on.
Ron DeSantis: (17:43)
And that’s why… and you know, when we did the vax passport, this was very early, I think early 2021. We said, no vax passports. And people were like, well… they’re like, “Okay. The government can’t do it, but private businesses can do it, right?” I said, “No.” I said, because first of all, I don’t want to marginalize people based off the choice of this shot. It makes no sense. But second of all, most businesses wouldn’t have done it. But one business does it. People would say, Florida has passports. And guess what? We would not have been the number one destination.
Ron DeSantis: (18:17)
As it happened, we said, no passports. We said, it’s a free state. We set a domestic tourism record in 2021. And the foreign… international tourism in the United States in 2021, Florida represented 44% of all international tourism to the United States. Of course, so. Nobody wants to take a vacation to a biomedical security state. So they wanted to come to Florida. So it’s important. But here’s the thing, that you think, I mean, just when you think Faucism is dead, when you think… someone needs to take him and throw him across the Potomac River.
Ron DeSantis: (19:19)
But just when you think it’s dead, he pops back up or just when you think it’s dead, someone imposes restrictions. So right now we have a smattering of school districts around the country, including Philadelphia, who have imposed mask mandates on their students. Now, there was never justification for doing this. But clearly now, if you look at all the data that we have, not only do we know it doesn’t benefit, we know it’s been harmful to their academic development. And so they’re still clinging on this. I think you’re going to see more of these leftist enclaves impose mandates and impose restrictions. And of course, you have places around the country that are banning kids from education if they don’t get an mRNA shot for COVID. And I’m happy to say, we saw this very early on. You go back to 2021, we banned schools from mandating COVID shots for students. But I bring up a lot of that just because we kind of take it for granted that we’re a free state and that’s not going on here. Let me tell you the other side wins elections here in statewide. You will no longer have that assurance. They want to bring things back. They may not want to do it right now because it’s unpopular, but they just can’t help themselves. And so the only way you can be sure that you’re going to remain free is to let people who are going to stand up for your rights and who are going to reject all restrictions and all mandates.
Ron DeSantis: (21:18)
And the thing is, is all we were really doing is following the actual evidence and the actual data. There was never any basis to mandate this on anybody. There was never any basis to mandate it on school children in particular. Now, even the CDC is acknowledging backhanded, but they’re acknowledging that there’s really no difference between vax and un-vax in terms of infection. They say they should be treated exactly the same now. That’s not how they were before. You know, the federal government, Biden and some of these governors and other candidates wanted you to lose your job if you didn’t get a COVID shot. We put the kibosh on that in Florida, too. We called a special session of the legislature. We enacted protections for all Florida workers. Nobody in Florida should have to choose between a job they need and a shot they don’t want.
Ron DeSantis: (22:22)
But with the kids, it’s ridiculous. With these kids, by them mandating this in different jurisdictions. They are depriving these kids of an education. And if you look at the data, there is absolutely no proven benefit to this. I think we still are the only state, but we were certainly the first, where our surgeon general with my support recommends the parents not to do the mRNA shot for their kids. So there’s not going to be any mandates on that here, don’t worry. So all of that is very important that schools are open, that you have no mandates, that you’re not forcing them into mask or any of that stuff. And that just gives you kind of a seat at the table to have a good education system. If you’re not willing to even do that, forget about it. You might as well just give up.
Ron DeSantis: (23:15)
So we’re committed to that, and you have great school board candidates who are going to make sure of that. But we also need to make sure that we continue and do even better in providing a high quality education for our kids. And that really starts with recognizing the fundamental role that parents play. I was proud to be able to enact this year and sign a curriculum transparency bill for parents, which says every parent in Florida has a right to know what is being taught in their kid’s school. It’s amazing that some people would oppose you on that. But it’s telling when you have candidates, like they had this guy running for in Virginia last year, who said, parents really shouldn’t be involved in curriculum and all that-
Ron DeSantis: (24:03)
… Said parents really shouldn’t be involved in curriculum and all that. When you see people opposing our curriculum transparency, you wonder, “Hey, why are you doing that?” Well, the only reason to do that, because I think if you talk to most teachers, they want the parents to take an interest. They want the parents involved. If the parents is involved with the kids’ education, the kid’s going to do better. It’s much harder to get kids up to standard if the parents are neglectful or they’re not interested in the academic progress, so most teachers want that. The only people who don’t want the parents involved are the people that worry that parental involvement is going to stymie their ability to use the education system to advance their own agenda. That’s why they don’t want parents involved, and so we think that’s very important with the transparency that we did. We also think it’s very important that we say no to ideologies like CRT in our K-12 schools. We’re not going to be teaching kids to hate this country or to hate each other, not on my watch.
Ron DeSantis: (25:10)
We’re not going to let them manipulate history to try to be able to advance a modern day left wing agenda. That is not going to happen in the state of Florida. What we are going to continue to do is we are going to emphasize things like understanding our Constitution and American civics. We want to teach kids what it means to be an American. We want to teach them about the Bill of Rights. We want to teach them about the different branches of government. We want to teach them about how all these important ideas that started in 1776, but were instrumental in every major period in American history all the way to the present. We want them to know that. We also want them to know what makes America different from some other systems. So to that end, I was proud to sign legislation where we have set aside November 7th of every year to honor the victims of Communism in the state of Florida. We probably have a larger percentage of our citizens who have some firsthand experience with Communist regimes in just about any state in the country.
Ron DeSantis: (26:23)
If you think about the body count from Communism in just the 20th century alone was over 100 million people. We want our students to know the difference. In America, our founders established a country based on the idea that our rights come from God, not from government. Communism rejected the existence of God and taught the supremacy of the state. We see the destruction that has had, and so on that November 7th, every year, schools are going to provide instruction so that our students learn about the evils of Communist regimes all across the world. We need to know, it’s important. It’s especially important. Yeah. You look around the country, you go and look at there’s more Marxist on Harvard’s faculty than in all of Eastern Europe. It’s like the people that have experience with this, they don’t want anything to do with it. Go talk to folks in South Florida, and you have more people, unfortunately, you still see it really strong in the Western hemisphere.
Ron DeSantis: (27:50)
Columbia just elected a Marxist to head their government, so this is not something that’s just in history’s rear view mirror, this is something that we need to know in the here and now. So we’re making sure that we’re doing that and we’re not going to look back. Look, I have a five, a four and a two-year-old back at home that my wife and I are looking after and raising. Oh, by the way, our First Lady has done a lot for our schools. She’s been really, really strong on advocating and expanding access to resiliency in schools, different types of mental health, and then teaching, honestly, our students about the dangers and pitfalls of drug abuse. If you think now what’s on that street now is way more dangerous that was on the street 30, 40 years ago, you get stuff laced with fentanyl, thanks, Biden, for opening the border because it’s coming in and it’s causing a lot of problems. You get a little bit of that fentanyl and people can overdose very quickly, so the stakes are very high on this.
Ron DeSantis: (29:03)
So she’s done a great job of educating, but also leveling with them about the truth and not lecturing them, but just telling them about the pitfall, so very, very important. So we’re parents and we’re thinking, and look, I don’t know what it was like when I was necessarily a kid, what my parents had to deal, but it seems to me it’s harder raising kids today than it used to be, because there’s so many influences out there. You got these devices. I don’t remember ideological indoctrination when I was in K-12, I don’t, I just remember doing subjects. It never occurred to me that somehow that was happening. Now it’s like we have to sit there and Katie bar the door to hope that doesn’t get into all of our education establishments. So there’s a lot that parents, I think, have to deal with in this day and age, and I just believe that parents should be able to send their kid to elementary school. Let them watch cartoons, just let them be kids without having some agenda shoved down their throats.
Ron DeSantis: (30:11)
It’s wrong to sexualize kids in elementary school. It’s wrong to jam transgender ideology into a first grade curriculum. Let’s focus on teaching them to read and write and add and subtract. You don’t need to be putting this extraneous stuff in there. It’s wrong. It’s not right, and it’s ultimately not going to lead them to being the best students they can be. We need to get the basics right here in the state of Florida. That’s why we signed the Parental Rights in Education Bill. Now, parents were very happy with that. It doesn’t even matter party, it’s across party, most parents are strongly supportive of saying, particularly with our young kids, “Let’s not go down that road, we also want regular rights for other things.” There are some school districts around the country, and we had this in Florida where they will take a student and they will “change their gender” behind the parents back, change pronouns, change dress, give me a break. This is wrong, and in Florida, it’s not allowed anymore because of that bill. By the way, and so I have three at home, two daughters and one son, so I look at my daughters and we signed legislation protecting the integrity of women’s sports to make sure that women could play, our girls could play and be fair and have the integrity of the competition. We did that. People were threatening, “Oh, Florida, can’t do it because the NCAA will not hold events in Florida or states that do it.” I was just like, “Go ahead, make my day. What do I care? We’re going to do what’s right.” So you had with Parents’ Rights in Education, parents were very happy that we were making sure that our schools didn’t go down, and you see it in other schools around the country, and don’t let them ever tell you it’s not happening. Look at LA, look at New Jersey, look at these places, they actually will have guidelines where they will say, a teacher could tell a very young student, “Hey, you may have been born a boy, but you may be a girl,” and all this stuff, so it’s wrong.
Ron DeSantis: (32:48)
It is happening and there’s evidence for that, so people were happy. You know who wasn’t happy, though, was the media and the militant left was not happy with it. But the thing is, is they understood on the left that they’re not going to win elections opposing Parents’ Rights in Education. Parents are not going to vote for candidates who are running on injecting sexuality in elementary school. Then when you start talking about all these other things that I didn’t even know, like they talk about pansexualism, all this stuff. Just think about imagine what our elderly, they don’t know what any of this stuff is. It’s weird that you would even be talking about it, so they know it’s a political loser and they know they can’t do it. So what they thought they could do is they thought they could subcontract out their leftism to big corporations.
Ron DeSantis: (33:42)
They thought that if they got the granddaddy of them all from Florida that happens to have a pretty big footprint in Central Florida, they thought if they got a company as powerful as Disney to take up their agenda, honestly, as much as the battle looking back was it was interesting that happened, for their perspective, it was not a dumb move to do because they have a much better chance of winning through that than winning in elections. You have had, unfortunately, a lot of Republican governors who have caved to corporate pressure over the years, and so they thought if they were hammering me that somehow that would be the end of it and they’d be able to stop it, well, they thought wrong. I’m not worried. I’m worried about doing right by the people of Florida. I’m not worried about what some woke corporation in Burbank, California thinks; not my concern.
Ron DeSantis: (34:54)
So we didn’t move an inch on that. We stood our ground, we signed the legislation, but I’ll tell you, I was really surprised that even after signing the legislation, you have Disney put out a statement pledging that they would get the bill repealed in the state of Florida, Parents’ Rights. You’re a company that’s catering to parents with young children, and you’re going to try to nuke that bill and put your corporate resources behind it? You know what? As much as I think these woke corporations are not serving their shareholders or their employees well by getting involved in these fights, it is a free country. They’re free to do that, but they are not free to force us to subsidize their activism. The fact of the matter is Disney had been given more, since the 1960s, I didn’t do this, this is years ago, they have been given more subsidies than any corporation in the history of the state of Florida. They have had since the late 1960s, their own government that they control. They’ve been exempt from many, many major important laws and they have gotten massive, massive tax-
Ron DeSantis: (36:03)
Many, many major important laws and they have gotten massive, massive tax breaks. So what we said is, “Okay, you can take those positions. We think that’s detrimental to the best interest of our state. We think it’s detrimental to the best interest of children and families, and so we are not going to be joined at the hip with you when you go down that road.” And so we took action and now because of what the legislature and I have done, Disney is no longer going to have its own government, they are going to live under the same laws as everybody else, and they are going to pay their fair share of taxes.
Ron DeSantis: (36:57)
Now, we won’t back down, don’t worry about that. But I think if you look at that whole thing, if you look at the sports, if you look at some of the things we’ve had to deal with, if we were sitting here just 10 years ago, no one would’ve thought any of that would’ve been possible. Okay? And so you have, why is this happening? I think it’s all motivated by what I call the woke mind virus. I think you have people that are advancing leftist ideology, and they’ve been so used to be able to have their way, and any time they made a ruckus everyone would just bow down to them. If they started complaining to a company, the CEO would geniaflag. If they start going out and asking for other things, the media treats them well, all this stuff. And I think that they’ve been very shocked that they actually have someone here in Florida that’s willing to stand up to them. And we will, in the state of Florida, stand strong against seeing this toxic ideology infecting institution after institution. We will fight the woke in corporate America. We will fight the woke in government bureaucracies. We will fight the woke in our schools. We are not going to surrender ever to woke ideology. Florida is the place where woke goes to die.
Ron DeSantis: (38:38)
And the great thing is this Tuesday is really our first chance to be able to speak and to be able to fight back about all that’s gone on throughout our country over the last year and a half. The fact of the matter is we’ve watched Biden, I mean… I mean, you think of him coming up to that podium, staring into the teleprompter like a deer in a headlights, reading his lines. End of quote, repeat the sentence [inaudible 00:39:33].