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Gov. DeSantis' Stance On Some Issues Garners Bipartisan Praise

Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference in Winter Park in January announced a change in the state's approach to smokable medical marijuana. Photo: Christian Simmons, WMFE
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he will drop a challenge to smoking medical marijuana if the Legislature doesn't rewrite the law next March. (Christian Simmons)

Gov. Ron DeSantis has surprised Floridians on both sides of the aisle with some key political moves since taking office. Political commentators Dick Batchelor and Frank Torres join Intersection to talk about how DeSantis is shaping his vision for the state.

On Jan. 17, DeSantis asked the Florida Legislature to change state law on smokable medical marijuana and, in a step away from previous Republican-led administrations, the governor’s current $91.3 billion budget recommendation includes significant funds for environmental spending.

“[DeSantis] seems to be going a little bit [more] towards the middle than he typically has in the past,” Torres told Intersection.

DeSantis’ willingness to move toward the center on some issues has garnered praise from Florida Democrats, but they remain cautious about celebrating the governor's record this early into his term.

“[DeSantis’ vision] is bold, let’s see how sufficiently bold it will be as he makes it through the session,” Batchelor said.

Batchelor said he sees DeSantis’ actions as an attempt to find his own identity outside of his reputation on the campaign trail as an avid supporter of President Trump.

“What I see [DeSantis] doing now is kind of redefining who he is, or defining for himself who he is,” he said.

DeSantis’ recent decisions seem particularly uncommon in the context of an increasingly partisan government in Washington D.C.

“Is it sad that we’ve come to the point where actually bipartisanship is considered bold?” Torres said. “Instead of pleasing both parties, you irritate the hardliners from both sides of the political spectrum. It seems like we’re getting that way.”