Nov 8, 2021

Ron DeSantis Launches 2022 Reelection Bid Press Conference Transcript

Ron DeSantis Launches 2022 Reelection Bid Press Conference Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis TranscriptsRon DeSantis Launches 2022 Reelection Bid Press Conference Transcript

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he will run for reelection in 2022 during a press briefing on November 8, 2021. He also criticized President Biden’s vaccine mandates. Read the transcript of the press conference here.

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Governor DeSantis: (00:01)
It’s wonderful to be here. And I want to thank Senate President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls for their hard work. Look, nobody, no cop, no firefighter, no nurse, nobody should be losing their jobs because of these jabs. We have got to stand up for people and protect their jobs and protect their livelihoods. And we’ve seen the federal government, even though the Biden administration had always said, “This will never be mandated.” And even they acknowledge the federal government doesn’t have the power to mandate it, now Fauci said it would never be mandated. And now all of a sudden, they say there’s grave danger, so it takes them two months to write a 500 page rule that they’re trying to shove down the throats of the American people. That’s wrong. It’s wrong to treat people like that. It’s wrong to kick people out of work. It’s wrong to try to micromanage businesses like that.

Governor DeSantis: (00:59)
And it’s wrong to potentially deprive key industries of people that we need. Trucking, nurses, all this other stuff and probably most importantly, what they’re doing is unconstitutional, and we have a responsibility to stand up for the constitution and that’s what we’re doing. But it’s also, and it needs to be pointed out, it’s not just the Biden mandate. You have some major corporations that are basically enacting policies. Maybe they just want a curry favor with him. I don’t know, but they’re threatening to throw out people from work in the State of Florida. Many of these people who’ve come up to me and are concerned about this have recovered from COVID. And so these mandates ignore science because they don’t recognize immunity conferred through prior infection, and it’s just wrong. And so we have a responsibility yes, to stand up against Biden’s mandates, but we have a responsibility to protect Floridians regardless of those mandates.

Governor DeSantis: (01:56)
And it doesn’t matter if the federal government stood down tomorrow, we still would need to act to be able to protect our nurses, to be able to protect our firefighters, be able to protect everybody in the economy. And so I call the special session of the legislature to be able to address this because we need to protect Floridians, we need to make sure that people can put food on the table and that their livelihoods aren’t dependent on whether or not they do the jab or the booster, whatever may come down the pike. And people said at the time, “Well, the governor’s doing it because the legislature, they don’t want to do it. They’re not going to do anything. They’re going to do something that’s not going to be effective.” And all that, people were saying that. And actually that’s not true at all.

Governor DeSantis: (02:38)
We’ve been working with both the Speaker and the Senate President to be able to get proposed legislation that will do a number of things. One say, you can’t fire people based off this jab and that’s true private sector, it’s also true with the public sector. Now, we thought our SB 2006 basically covered the police and the fire, but we had Leon County fired a bunch of people. We’ve had others say they’re going to do it. So I think that they’re wrong on that law. I think we’d win in litigation, but we’re going to make it even clear on that. And so any police department or fire that’s threatening this at this point, they’re going to have zero legs to stand on, and it’s very important that we do that. So this will be probably the strongest protections for both private and public sector employees anywhere in the country.

Governor DeSantis: (03:33)
And I want to thank Speaker Sprowls for stepping up. I want to thank Senate President Simpson. This is kind of unchartered territories, because we’ve never really had a situation where this was becoming such a flash point, that basically an individual decision was barely being used to determine whether someone could keep earning a paycheck or not. And so we really had to make sure that we were doing it right, and I know they had a lot of differences of opinion within their respective caucuses, but I’m proud to say, we’re going to do something in this special session that matters. We’re going to do something in this special session that is going to put people’s minds at ease, that’s going to save their jobs. Every time I’m out, someone will come up to me concerned about a looming deadline of when they could potentially get a pink slip. And first of all, it’s wrong if they were to get the pink slip, but even leading up to that, it’s caused a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot of uncertainty with a lot of families about what’s going on. And at the end of the day, we want people to be able to make informed decisions for themselves, but we’ve got to stop bossing people around. We’ve got to stop the coercion. We’ve got to stop trying to browbeat people. From the very beginning we said, “Let’s not put people down, let’s lift people up.” And so that’s what we’re going to be doing. We’re going to be saving a lot of jobs in the state of Florida.

Governor DeSantis: (04:57)
We’re going to be striking a blow for freedom. We’re going to be standing up against the Biden mandates and we’re going to be better as a result of it. I also ask them, “While you’re at it, let’s make sure we’ve put all the issues we can to bed of some of the things that we’ve been doing.” And we’ve been having these fights. Unfortunately it used to be parents were in control of their kids’ health education and upbringing. That would not have even been controversial even 10 years ago. Now you have some folks that say, parents shouldn’t be involved in their kids education and it’s really the government and unions and all this that should be. We passed a Parents’ Bill of Rights in the state of Florida this year that I signed into law, and it was the right thing to do.

Governor DeSantis: (05:43)
It was the right thing to do. And it basically said that parents should be making some of these decisions. And so we made sure that for schools, that that was the case, and we had some school districts that said they didn’t care about the Parents’ Bill of Rights, they were going to force masking or they were going to quarantine healthy kids or do things that are not consistent with parents’ rights. And so what we’re going to do in this special session is we’re strengthening the Parents’ Bill of Rights. We’re making clear the, you can’t force the kids to wear masks above the parent’s objection. And if you do that, it’s not going to be the Department of Education taking the salaries and all this Kabuki that’s been going on. Parents will have a right to go in and sue the school districts and recover costs and attorney’s fees for having to do it.

Governor DeSantis: (06:35)
So if your kids’ rights are violated or your rights as a parent, you immediately go in and you’re able to vindicate. And so I guarantee you, with having that type of teeth and the Parents’ Bill of Rights, you’re going to have everyone get in line. They’re almost all into line now because we’ve been winning all these cases. It was interesting, there was one circuit judge that ruled against us. It was a terrible decision, everyone knew that, but that was national news. And we’ve had a flurry of cases where we win all these other cases. You would be hard pressed to even know those cases are being rendered, not as much interest in certain quarters, particularly of the corporate media about those cases. But we won yet another one last week and we have some other ones that are going to be coming down.

Governor DeSantis: (07:23)
So even with that, we’ve been right, but it shouldn’t even come to having to do all this, it should just be very clear. So the legislature’s going to make that clear, and I think that that’s something that’s very important. And also with respect to kids, we have it in the law you, clear, we think, but we don’t want to even have any litigation or anything. So it will be made even more abundantly clear that when it comes to COVID vaccines for kids, they cannot be mandated on our school children. That’s a parent’s decision about whether they want to do that or not. So I’m excited. I think that Florida really will be leading. I think Montana did this a few months ago and I think Tennessee recently did something, Florida’s coming in and really, this is going to save the day for a lot of workers.

Governor DeSantis: (08:14)
I don’t want to see some nurse get thrown out of their job. Having worked throughout the whole pandemic, having cared for COVID patients, and most of these nurses have had COVID and do have immunity, to just throw them out of their jobs all of a sudden now? That’s not right. And so we want to treat people with respect. We want to make sure people have dignity in Florida, and that’s what we’re doing here. And I want to thank Chris Sprowls, I want to thank Wilton Simpson for really stepping up and making sure … Look, unfortunately on this, and I don’t know, maybe they can speak about the legislative thing, but my sense is no Democrat will help any of these workers. Biden said cops should get fired, nurses should get fired. That’s his position. I’d imagine the legislature, they’re all going to support forced firing of these people over these jabs.

Governor DeSantis: (09:08)
That’s unfortunate, hopefully I’m wrong. But the result is I think they had to corral and make sure of something that they could get through with just Republicans, and I think that they found the ability to do that. So I want to thank them for really working hard and making sure that we got this done. I know it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do, and I know that there are a lot of different views out there, but we look forward to having this wrapped up next week. And I think there will be a lot of Floridians who’ll be able to breathe easier as a result. So I want to welcome up the Speaker first and then President Simpson to make some comments.

Speaker Sprolws: (09:51)
Thank you, Governor, and thank you for your leadership. Not just on days like today, but throughout the course of the pandemic. It is because of Governor DeSantis and the Republican- led legislature, that businesses just like this one stayed open during the course of the pandemic. That employees who worked here and throughout the state every day were told one message by Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature, and that is that every single family, that every single worker is essential. They have the right to provide for their families and to put food on their own table.

Speaker Sprolws: (10:20)
That happened throughout the course of the pandemic. And we are here because President Biden has decided to use the heavy hand of government in an unprecedented demonstration of presidential power, unconstitutional presidential power to try to dictate to Floridians, to try to dictate to businesses like this one, to try to dictate to families, to police officers, to nurses, to firefighters, that they go out and get a vaccine, or they lose their job. The governor said this before, but these are the same folks who never took a day off during the pandemic. Many of us had the benefit of maybe working from home, but police officers didn’t, the nurses didn’t. They didn’t have the benefit. They had to go to work every day because we needed them then now more than ever before-

Speaker Sprolws: (11:03)
Every day, because we needed them then now more than ever before. And now the Biden administration is willing to say, “Thank you so much for your service, but do as we say or you’re off the job.” That’s wrong, that is wrong and that is why we’re here with the governor, I want to thank him I thank president Simpson. President, you’ve been such a great partner for us and the legislature. This absolutely would not have been able to be possible without the close working relationship between the House and the Senate. But we are here on the keep Florida free agenda to make sure that those workers have the ability to do what’s best for them, to do what’s best for their families. And for those businesses like this one to do what’s best for them.

Speaker Sprolws: (11:38)
How many thousands of nurses or police officers or workers who don’t feel comfortable are going to walk off the job if the Biden administration’s mandate stance? What is that going to mean? Not just for them, not just for their families and their ability to provide for themselves, but for all of us who rely on those individuals every single day. Whether they’re a police officer, whether they’re a truck driver, that’s on their way to Publix to deliver goods that we’re going to consume. This is vital to the strength of Florida, to the strength of Florida families.

Speaker Sprolws: (12:08)
I want to thank also our members that are here today, representative Ardian Zika. Who’s going to be carrying the bill that sends a very strong message from the legislature that says if OSHA, if the department of labor and OSHA is going to be weaponized as a way to hold hostage businesses throughout the state of Florida, no problem we want a different plan. We want out of OSHA, we’ll submit our own regulatory authority and say goodbye to the federal government.

Speaker Sprolws: (12:39)
Representative Ardian Zika, right here in Pasco county is going to be filing that bill for us. Representative Erin Graw, chair Graw is here with us, she is the author of “The Parents’ Bill of Rights”. She’s going to be carrying the big bill that’s going to come through, the dealing with businesses, masks, dealing with our school children and a message that can be conveyed to every single parent. And that is this, we believe in the state of Florida, the Governor, myself, the Senate President, the Legislature, we believe the best person to make a decision for their children are parents themselves. Governor, thanks for having us here today here.

Governor DeSantis: (13:13)
Okay. Senate President, Wilton Simpson.

Wilton Simpson: (13:17)
I want to reemphasize what the speaker said, so I won’t repeat all of those things, but very well done speaker and the speaker’s been a great partner. Clearly, the Governor’s been a great partner, not just the last 60 days. This all started back last April, right? When we had the lockdowns of the country, the Governor immediately formed committees to, how do we safely reopen? How do we get through this pandemic and allow people to make a living for their families, have the dignity of work to continue. And so this Governor’s been on the front edge of this issue for the entire last 18 months. And clearly we are here today because of decisions we made then. Florida’s economy has recovered better than any other state. Florida is the shining state on the hill that we always talk about. Florida’s looked at from the rest of the country of, how do they do this? And it’s because we have great leadership with this Governor by not only opening, but now continuing to remain open. So it is fair to say that the Florida Senate and the House and the Governor will stand up for parents’ rights. Again, we thought we had done that. We were going to put an explanation point at the end of it during this special session.

Wilton Simpson: (14:29)
And we’re going to stand up for all of our workers in this state, right? Essential. Essential workers were on the front lines every day, risking their lives to make sure that we remained open. And we knew if we took care of the most vulnerable in this state that we could remain open safely and get through this pandemic. And that’s where we are today. And Governor, I appreciate your leadership, not only the last few months fighting the Biden administration, but what has been happening over the last 18 months. So thank you. Thank you for being in Pasco.

Governor DeSantis: (15:05)
Well, thanks Wilton. And it’s true I mean, people look to Florida and yes people are moving. But just a number of people that were coming here over the last year and a half, just to get a respite from being in their areas, which weren’t as good. And then the people that are, obviously there’s a lot of people moving. This New Jersey Governor’s race was very close and I think we would’ve won that, but all the Republicans from New Jersey end up moving to Florida. So it’s kind of hard to win these races at that point. So, just it is what it is.

Governor DeSantis: (15:37)
Okay. So we’ve got some great folks that are going to talk about a whole bunch of different factors here. I got Doc Hyder, President of Rowland Transportation. They’ve been meeting truck needs, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, since the late 1970s. They were on the road throughout all of COVID because we needed that to happen and now we’re in a situation where if the Biden mandate goes in, you could see huge disruption. So come on.

Doc Hyder: (16:08)
My name’s Doc Hyder, I’m President of Rowland Transportation in Dade City. We keep a little over 100 trucks running up and down the road, mainly haul refrigerated food stuffs for people like Publix and Sysco’s to keep it going. And we did work tirelessly through the pandemic and our drivers had to stay out there and got good press out of it because people finally understood that trucking is the backbone that gets everything to the stores, so we could get it home.

Doc Hyder: (16:34)
And everyone’s heard of the driver’s shortage, but the industry’s more than that. We’ve got the dispatchers, we got the warehouse people and the technicians who keep the trucks going to make them safe, to be on the road and keep them so we can utilize them and get things to the stores. So this arbitrary 100 person rule from Biden and OSHA makes no sense to us. And we’re struggling every day to get clarification, what’s going on and who is touched by it and who is not. Because if you’ve got 120 people, but 30 of them are contracted to you as self-employed contractors then are they including 100? I don’t know. And they’re saying there’s be an exemption for truck drivers, that are single truck drivers in the cab that may not have to abide by the ruling.

Doc Hyder: (17:23)
But so then, did my company go from 150 people to 50 people? We can’t find it in the build fire, but law will find out. So the vaccine mandate will mean more chaos in the supply chain, will mean less on the shelves. Remember last year when we couldn’t find Kleenex or anything? And you could only buy one or two packs well, that’s going to happen again if this goes through. And it’s going to hurt the families, the companies and our economy. And as an owner, I’ll be faced with having to let someone go that’s supporting their family by working with us to keep this going. And I may have to get rid of them because of this OSHA rule. And it’s just not easy to do and it’s hard. I can’t afford to do that. And I don’t think the government can, our state definitely can’t and our economy will suffer.

Doc Hyder: (18:09)
So if we don’t have the supply managers, supply chain managers and people in the office to make sure things are picked up, delivered efficiently and the payroll people to get people paid and every it’s just going to be a bigger mess than what we had before. So that’s the reason I’m here, and so I want to thank Governor DeSantis for protecting the rights of all Floridians. It makes me grateful to be an owner in a company in the state with a leader who understands ramifications of the overreach of the Federal Government. And we know you have our backs and will fight for the people of Florida and protect our economy as a free state and open for business.

Governor DeSantis: (18:55)
Yep. All right.

Doc Hyder: (18:56)
Thank you.

Governor DeSantis: (19:01)
And if you just have like in trucking, if this ends up with just 1% of people that get put out of work, it’ll have a catastrophic consequence on all the things we’re already seeing, which has been very, very difficult with the supply chains. If just 1%, I mean it doesn’t even need to be a large number of these folks, it will cause a ripple effect in this economy. So yes, unconstitutional. Yes, violation of freedom of choices. People, this is a personal decision, but just practically with the economy, the effects that this would have it would be catastrophic.

Governor DeSantis: (19:39)
And it’s interesting. They said it’s grave danger. It took them two months to write it. Okay. And then two more months for it to go into effect. They didn’t want it to go into effect now because they know that these disruptions would happen before Christmas and that would upset a lot of people. So they’re punting it to the new year where those disruptions may be, they would say would be less disruptive at least to the Christmas season. So, this whole thing really stinks to high heaven. Okay. I have Lisa Williams, she’s a single mother in Tampa. She’s been a flight attendant for 31 years and she is here representing airline employees for health freedom, a group of over 2,000 airline employees who are actually suing their employers over these mandates.

Lisa Williams: (20:26)
Thank you, Governor.

Governor DeSantis: (20:32)

Lisa Williams: (20:33)
Good morning. Like the Governor said, my name is Lisa Williams. I’m a single mom. I live in Tampa, Florida, and I have 31 years as a Flight Attendant with a major US airline. I’m here as a representative for airline employees for health freedom, a group of over 2,000 of my coworkers who are suing our airline for unreasonable accommodations of indefinite unpaid leave in lieu of taking the vaccine. Accompanying me today are freedom flyers, Pilots, freedom flyers. We are not anti-vaccine. We are anti-mandate.

Lisa Williams: (21:21)
My employer has done everything possible to prevent folks like me from exercising our title seven rights to protect our faith and our medical autonomy on The American with Disabilities Act. The airline CEO set an arbitrary deadline of August 31st to declare one’s faith and then did everything he could to prevent the free exercise thereof by pressuring people to not request an exemption. People were told that they were effectively resigning, would never fly again or would lose their retirement, if they didn’t take the shot. The lie-

Lisa Williams: (22:03)
If they didn’t take the shot. The lies and the pressure was unbearable. On September 2nd, when I learned that the window had passed to get an exemption to the mandate, I was fearful of losing my job, which would cause me not to provide for my children, and I caved under duress and got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That was a single worst decision of my life. I violated my faith because my employer made me choose between my God and my job, a decision that almost cost me my life.

Lisa Williams: (22:44)
Due to my body’s adverse reaction to the jab, I was rushed to the hospital. Every day, the side effects linger and I suffer chronic pain. A booster would most likely kill me. Even though I only took the shot because of the mandate, my employer refuses to allow any workman’s compensation claims and will not acknowledge their role in my situation to help me. Meanwhile, they continue to systematically terminate my coworkers who are resisting the violation of the court restraining order. Governor DeSantis has our full support. We cannot thank you enough for your courage and determination in defending every day Floridians like myself against these unconstitutional mandates. Employees must have the right to choose what’s best for their individual faith and for their personal medical situations. Thank you.

Governor DeSantis: (24:02)
All right. Axl David works for the Red Cross in Florida, and a few weeks ago he received an email saying he had to disclose his vac status by the end of the year or he would be terminated. He’s helped people recover from emergencies in their time of need, wildfires, hurricanes, and now they want to fire him over his medical decisions. So Axl.

Axl David: (24:26)
As we’ve been saying, disasters don’t take breaks. Hurricanes home fires, they don’t stop for a pandemic. I’ve been right there working with the Red Cross through all of that. This past July, I saw the economy in Florida has been recovering. We saw a light at the end of the tunnel. So I purchased my first house in Brooksville. I’m now being told that if I don’t sacrifice my principles, my integrity, and my bodily autonomy, they’re going to fire me for not getting the vaccine.

Axl David: (24:54)
Now, I’ve recovered. I’ve done research. I spoke to a doctor. I made an informed decision that being low risk and with natural immunity, I didn’t pose a threat to myself or others. Now, a lot of people might want to paint people like me as anti-vax. That’s not what this is about. In fact, I actually helped my grandmother get her vaccine, her booster shot. I worked with her on that. My opposition to this is the unconstitutional and illegal mandate from the Biden regime. I just want to thank Governor DeSantis and the legislative leadership for these critical efforts and to send a signal to DC that these won’t be tolerated in the sunshine state of freedom.

Governor DeSantis: (25:40)
Okay. Now, I’d like to introduce Chief Deputy Donna Luzinski from the Hillsborough County Sheriff Office, first female chief deputy ever at the department, and she’s been a 25 year career. And now they’re in a situation at the Sheriff’s office. They have a lot of vacancies and now they’re not doing a mandate in Hillsborough, but it just shows you that if those were allowed in other jurisdictions, you could potentially have even more attrition of folks. So Donna.

Donna Luzinski: (26:13)
I’d like to thank Governor DeSantis for his strong efforts to ensure vaccinations are not a mandatory requirement for employment. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has always encouraged vaccinations, but it has never been mandatory nor do we have any plans to do so. If that were to be the case, it would be debilitating. We’d have over 300 deputy vacancies currently. Even a large agency like ours, couldn’t sustain additional manpower vacancies because of the overreach of the federal government.

Donna Luzinski: (26:46)
A vaccine mandate creates a public safety issue and puts all Floridians at risk. We’ve seen this occur in cities like New York and Chicago and law enforcement officers are leaving those cities. We’ve been getting applications from some of those officers who still desire to serve and protect, but don’t want to be forced to get a vaccination. Thankfully, we have a governor who continues to combat this overreach by ensuring first responders are at work, protecting the citizens we serve. Again, Governor, thank you for all you do for law enforcement.

Governor DeSantis: (27:25)
One of the things we saw with having vacancies is there’s a lot of people that aren’t drawn to the law enforcement because they’ve been treated poorly over the last years, not in Florida, but in other parts of the country. But I think just generally people say, “Well, why would I want to go into that and have all the hassle and everything?” And so what we said is we see people all around the country, morale is low. You go to a place like Seattle, they don’t support you. Minneapolis, New York, all these prep places have huge problems. And so what we said is if you have experienced folks qualified, experienced folks from out of state, they come here and take jobs with law enforcement, we’re going to authorize $5,000 signing bonuses for them and that’s going to make a huge difference. You’re going to see people pouring in.

Governor DeSantis: (28:13)
You’re going to see people pouring in and we’re going to be able to meet the needs. We’re also going to be doing other things and we’ll have an announcement on this within the next couple weeks. We have a whole law enforcement agenda that’ll be really, really good, but that’s what we want. We want people to be able to work. We don’t want to exclude people and discriminate against them based on health choices.

Governor DeSantis: (28:34)
What I’ve found is most of the police officers and fire firefighters who would be subject to these mandates have recovered from COVID and do have protection. I mean, that’s just the reality because they’ve been out and about the whole dog on time. They haven’t been sitting around on zoom in their homes, working from home. They can’t do that. They have to be out and about. And so that’s even doubly odd that you would penalize somebody under those circumstances.

Governor DeSantis: (29:03)
Sarah Pope is the parent of a Hillsborough County student just entered her junior year. Her daughter struggled with anxiety and poor performance on standardized testing last year due in part to the uncertainty with the quarantine policy, which they were keeping kids out of school for a long time. She was required to be masks during her PSAT, which is a very important standardized test. And so this year, her daughter’s been able to be without the mask and her performance has really, really improved. There’s a lot of attention on the forced masking and rightfully so, I think if a parent wants to do it, fine, but I mean, that should not be forced on kids and it does hurt academic performance in many instances, but the quarantines were totally out of control.

Governor DeSantis: (29:46)
CDC says, oh, if anybody tests positive, you quarantine everybody else around them. But what we found is 98% of these people who are considered contacts, never had COVID. So these are healthy kids being quarantined and the parents would be called six o’clock the day before school saying, “Oh, Sally, can’t go to school. She’s been exposed.” They’ll say, “Well, she’s not sick.” Oh, sorry, two weeks, and that makes it very difficult for a lot of families and for parents. And of course, getting kids out of the classroom like that is incredibly disruptive and it really hurts there.

Governor DeSantis: (30:19)
So what we did in September with Dr. Joe Ladapo, surgeon general, is we ended healthy quarantines in Florida. We said, we’re not doing that. We’re going to do a symptoms-based approach. Someone’s got symptoms, absolutely stay home or send them home, but you don’t take all these healthy kids and send them home. And so if someone may have been in contact, you can monitor that kid. Parents can be notified. They can monitor and see, but you got to go based on symptoms, not based off just happen to be in the same room, and the result has been kids are in school, parents are really happy with this and the learning is going to be better.

Governor DeSantis: (31:04)
I mean, just think about pulling someone out two weeks. There are some kids that would get quarantined. They literally would get quarantined, but because they were exposed and then they have a sibling who would be going to school. So they’re in the same household and it’s like that other school districts say the whole household needs to be quarantined, incredibly, incredibly disruptive. So we’re happy that what we’re doing with Parent’s Bill of Rights is if any of these school districts go away from the Department of Health’s guidance on this, then parents have the ability to get their kids back in school. So Sarah, you want to come up?

Sarah: (31:39)
As the parent of a Hillsborough County student, I’m relieved to report that the removal of the mask requirement is making all the difference for my daughter in better learning this year. While I was grateful that in-person classes were available at all last year, the mandatory mask wearing seriously impacted learning in a very negative way. Can you imagine having to take the PSAT or your AP tests with a mask on? My students said it was very hard to stay awake during these long standardized tests, and she would get, with the hot mask on your face, it would make you very, very sleepy.

Sarah: (32:15)
Most days she come home with a headache, fatigue, and sometimes nausea from the hours of wearing a mask in a classroom. On top of the impaired learning was the constant uncertainty leading to anxiety for many kids of not knowing on any given day, if they were going to be called to leave school and quarantine at home for a week or two, despite being healthy with no symptoms. Going into this school year, it was initially looking like the same profoundly disruptive mistakes were going to be made again, despite clear data showing that they were not in any way productive and they didn’t result in better outcomes. Thankfully, due to the common sense leadership of our governor, those measures have been sent to the dust bin of history and I’m happy to report that my student …

Sarah: (33:03)
… Dustbin of history, and I’m happy to report that my student is enjoying a normal schooling year with a dependable routine that facilitates her learning rather than putting the brakes on it. Thank you.

Governor DeSantis: (33:17)
Okay. So we’ve got a lot on the plate coming. Again, I want to thank Speaker Sprowls and President Simpson for really digging in, and I look forward to being able to hopefully sign these reforms into law next week when the special session concludes. With that, I could take a few questions. Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 1: (33:37)
Governor, [inaudible 00:33:37] with NBC 8. We heard that you submitted paperwork Friday to run for re-election for governor. Is that true?

Governor DeSantis: (33:43)
Well, we are going to put something out a little bit later so just stay tuned. I mean, it’s more of a formality to open up a campaign committee. We’re not going to be doing really anything in terms of public announcements until after the legislative session, but you got to prepare for these things and so we’re off and doing that.

Speaker 2: (34:02)
Your legislation that you’re going forward in the special session, will that also include other vaccinations like measles-

Governor DeSantis: (34:09)
No, no, no. This is only for COVID vaccinations, [crosstalk 00:34:11] yeah.

Speaker 3: (34:12)
Governor, I’m curious what you think of the infrastructure bill the House passed last week. Is it something you support and its application here in Florida and if not, what your plans are for Florida’s infrastructure?

Governor DeSantis: (34:21)
So I think it was a lot of pork barrel spending from what I can tell. One of the things that was in there, they’re trying to open the door to do a mileage tax on your car. Some people want to be able to monitor the amount, because they say the gas tax doesn’t get enough money, so they want to monitor the mileage that you’re driving on your car and then tax you per the mile. They open the door for that in that bill. That will never fly in the state of Florida. We are not going to allow that to happen. Yes?

Speaker 4: (34:51)
I work for the school district. I work with DLC Pre-K.

Governor DeSantis: (35:00)

Speaker 4: (35:01)
I’m a stage four cancer survivor for five years now, and well, I am in medical leave. I have to put on the two Moderna vaccines and I’m still going through the struggles. I mean, I was limping, I mean-

Governor DeSantis: (35:20)
So you’re having side effects from the Moderna vaccine?

Speaker 4: (35:22)

Governor DeSantis: (35:22)

Speaker 4: (35:24)
Headaches, all kinds of stuff. So I haven’t been able to return to work and it’s just hard to be able to continue to do this thing without… So I’m so grateful that now we are not having to have these mandates for our kids and just having to be able to have these children without the face mask and let the parents choose-

Governor DeSantis: (35:50)
Oh, yeah, parent choice.

Speaker 4: (35:56)
For DLC kids, it’s extremely difficult to help them, and they need to see our smiles. They need to see our faces.

Governor DeSantis: (35:59)
I agree. I mean, I think the smiles matter and I think particularly the young kids… You will actually have certain school districts that will say we are relieving mass mandate for high schoolers, but we’re keeping them on those elementary. First of all, I don’t think you should have a mandate period, but the elementary are the ones that need to be able to see the interaction more than anything because they’re learning to speak and read and do all that stuff. And it’s absolutely critical. And don’t tell me it doesn’t make a difference. Heck, this head of the teachers union who tried to keep the schools closed all of last year, she was found maskless and she said, “I took it off because it was too hard to understand each other wearing the mask.” Well, how do you think these school children have felt for the last year?

Governor DeSantis: (36:40)
But I think your point about you’ve had side effects, and when we would give the vaccines, when we used to have the state sites, we’d observe people to see whether there was reaction and most people didn’t have that, but some people got sick. Some people had different things. That’s anything you put in, there’s always a risk for that. And so what our surgeon general has said is he wants to make sure that that that is something that people are able to report without fear because there’s almost a thing that’s like if you ever say anything negative that somehow people are going to criticize you, the media’s criticize you or whatever, people need the facts. They need to have the truth about all this. And so I think, and you need to have a nuance understanding of this, if you look at say like a 13 year old boy, they found there’s a heart inflammation has happened with some. Not saying it happens every time or most of the time, but it has happened.

Governor DeSantis: (37:40)
And so a parent would weigh, okay, what are the risks to him from COVID? Very small. And then what are the potential risks from doing this course of treatment? And they can make those decisions. But that’s how people evaluate their health. That is totally rational. That’s how people should evaluate their health. And when you say mandate without any regard to any personal circumstances, that is just wrong. And most of these kids have recovered as well. Most of them don’t even get symptoms. And so you’re going to end up having in certain states, they’re going to mandate it on school kids that have already recovered from COVID and so they’re at basically zero risk anyways. And then with the immunity, it’s probably, it’d be like, who knows, astronomical odds that something bad would happen from COVID, but then you’re then into doing this and look, maybe the odds are low, but you’re already inject-

Governor DeSantis: (38:32)
So I think you need to have an honest conversation about it and make sure that people are able to make those informed decisions. But it is absolutely rational to look at your personal circumstances, and I think most people who oppose the mandates, I’ve not heard anyone say that COVID isn’t real. They understand it’s real but they also understand different people are at different risks depending on their age, their health, a whole host of different things and prior infection. So making those decisions, that’s absolutely common sense. We’re protecting people’s ability to make those decisions. And unfortunately, you have a lot of stuff that’s happened with the CDC. I mean, with the booster for the general public, the FDA recommended against. Their two leading people in the FDA resigned in protest because they said this was being politicized.

Governor DeSantis: (39:23)
Can you imagine if that happened under Trump? I mean, the corporate press would have a meltdown. This would be like 24/7, CNN, NBC. I mean, it would be non-stop. That happened under Biden and then CDC overruled the FDA on that. And I think that was more political. So the idea that people shouldn’t look at that and factor that in to what they may be doing? Of course that they should be doing, but I do think just the lack of just leveling with the public, I think has been very detrimental. And look, this COVID vaccine is one thing. There’s a whole host of other things regarding people’s health. And I think you’re going to see people have really, really serious misgivings the next time St. Fauci comes down the pike and says something or any of these other people, because I don’t think most Americans believe that they’ve been entirely truthful throughout the course of this pandemic.

Speaker 4: (40:20)
That’s why we appreciate you. And, and I mentioned I’m stage four cancer survivor because I know about Casey, your precious wife, and I’m praying for her [crosstalk 00:40:28]-

Governor DeSantis: (40:27)
Oh, thank you. Thank you. Well, all I can tell you is I have faith in God, I have faith in her, and I do have faith in the power of prayer, and I can tell you, there’s a lot of people pulling for her, not just in Florida, but throughout the country. And so it’s really uplifting. It’s helped her spirits. It’s helped my spirits. And we just look at it as she may have been given a bad break, but she’s got an awful lot to live for, so many people that care about her, and so she’s fighting. And look, it’s not an easy thing. There’s good days and bad days, but she’s fighting and she will be back better than ever. So thank you, guys. Appreciate it.

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