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Florida Democrats and Republicans Clash After DeSantis’ State of the State Address

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Trimmel Gomes, host of weekly political podcast The Rotunda, stops by Intersection to talk about the state of Florida politics under Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis has surprised both Republicans and Democrats alike with announcements since taking office that have appealed more to political centrists than far-right conservatives. Such decisions include his order for the Florida Legislature to change state law on smokable medical marijuana and his $91.3 billion budget recommendation that included funds for environmental spending.

However, Gomes says DeSantis’ conservative roots showed once again during his State of the State address on Tuesday as he discussed issues like immigration.

“When [DeSantis] became governor, he made this very moderate tone,” Gomes said. “He won over a lot of Democrats with his environmental agenda, and it was just shocking, so it was just a matter of time to see the policies that brought him into the governor’s mansion rule out.”

Florida Democrats criticized key aspects of DeSantis’ address, including his stance on education and hopes to expand the school voucher program. Gomes said Floridians can expect to see more of DeSantis’ partnership with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran moving forward.

“Some of those policies that Corcoran heavily lobbied for and supported, particularly dealing with charter schools and school choice, is what we’re going to see playing out and pushing forward ahead during this legislative session,” Gomes says.

Florida Sen. Audrey Gibson delivered the Democratic response to DeSantis’ address and criticized the governor, saying his message to “be bold” didn’t line up with his Republican policies.

Democrats proposed their own agenda, calling for raising minimum wage, expanding Medicaid and expanding universal background checks for firearms.

“You can say the honeymoon is over from the DeSantis new administration coming in and with the start of session,” Gomes says.

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