Ron DeSantis Outlines Presidential Agenda in State of the State Address

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State address Tuesday as he looks ahead to a possible 2024 presidential campaign.[0] He used his speech to outline his agenda and position himself as an alternative to former President Donald Trump, who has recently faced questions of electability following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[1]

DeSantis urged legislators to expand Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education bill,” known by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay,” which bans instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms up until third grade.[2] Legislators want to broaden the ban until eighth grade, while also pushing for legislation allowing Floridians to carry a firearm without a state license.

DeSantis also suggested eliminating the state permit to carry a concealed weapon in Florida, allowing eligible Floridians to carry a concealed gun in Florida without seeking approval from the state. Gun-rights activists, however, have said the measure doesn’t go far enough and are calling for Florida to allow people to carry a gun in public in the open, and for the state to eliminate gun-free zones.[3]

DeSantis has released a new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” which foreshadows his 2024 plans.[4] The governor has been traveling across the country promoting his book, and is expected to visit Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire in the coming weeks.

The governor has come under increased attacks from Donald Trump as the former president focuses on the Florida governor as the biggest obstacle to getting the 2024 Republican nomination.[5] DeSantis has noticeably lost weight, which is a common feature of politicians planning for a high-profile future run.[5]

At times, Trump has insulted DeSantis based on his physical appearance.[5]

Fentrice Driskell, the Democratic leader of Florida’s House of Representatives, expressed that she had never witnessed a governor wield so much power in the state’s legislative process. Lobbyist Brian Ballard, who has been involved in Florida’s legislative sessions since 1986 and supports the governor, echoed the sentiment.[6]

“I’ve never seen a governor in my lifetime with this much absolute control of the agenda in Tallahassee as Ron DeSantis,” Ballard said.

DeSantis closed his speech with a call to action.[7]

0. “Florida teachers react to Gov. DeSantis State of the State: Students and educators deserve better” Florida Politics, 7 Mar. 2023,

1. “US Republican leader Ron DeSantis lays out right-wing platform” Al Jazeera English, 7 Mar. 2023,

2. “Florida Legislature’s agenda this session may offer clue to a DeSantis 2024 bid” ABC News, 7 Mar. 2023,

3. “DeSantis agenda — and potential campaign platform — in the spotlight as Florida lawmakers return to work” CNN, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “Florida session will add DeSantis victories ahead of presidential run” Business Insider, 6 Mar. 2023,

5. “DeSantis delivers annual state of state — with an eye to 2024” POLITICO, 7 Mar. 2023,

6. “DeSantis’ sway over Florida Legislature unprecedented ahead of 2024 bid” Tampa Bay Times, 5 Mar. 2023,

7. “DeSantis declares Florida ‘No. 1 state in the nation’ in speech” Orlando Sentinel, 7 Mar. 2023,

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