The Mark of DeSantis

Thomas F Campenni
4 min readSep 21, 2022

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As a Florida resident, it is not easy to support Governor Ron DeSantis. I am sorry to say that.

At almost every turn, I like his underlying policies…then he does something to make those policies extreme, unchristian, and cruel.

For example, take his overall educational policy to support parents in having a say over their children’s education. I couldn’t agree more. Then comes the problem. To DeSantis, the parent having that say is a good thing if the parent’s point of view is the same as the Governor’s. When a parent doesn’t share the point of view, then the Governor discounts that parent’s opinion.

I have never met a book I wanted to ban. Though I do believe that the subject matter should be age appropriate. Why should one parent or ten parents have a say over what my child should read. Isn’t that my responsibility to decide for my child? Yet what we have now is the tyranny of the minority which is just as bad as not listening to parents at all. Florida is number one in books banned in the country.

As time has passed, the governor has decided if he doesn’t like an elected official’s public statements, he has the right to remove the person from office. I agree that he should be able to if the official is proven to have done something contrary to his oath or the law. But a duly elected official who has not broken the law should not be removed except by the people at the ballot box.

DeSantis started with Scott Israel, the elected sheriff of Broward County. He might have been the worst sheriff in the state because of what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. His removal was a popular decision given the tragedy of that shooting. Which does not make it the right one. He is Governor DeSantis not Dictator DeSantis…benevolent or not.

He has steadily ramped up his autocratic tendencies. His most recent was the removal of State Attorney Andrew Warren in Hillsborough County. Warren, a Democrat, said he would not prosecute someone for a violation of the 15-week abortion ban and disagreed with criminalizing gender treatment for transgender people. The governor cited no instances of Warren not prosecuting a violation of the laws in his removal letter.

I agree with the governor that once something is made a crime, the state attorney hasn’t the right to nullify the state’s law. He does have prosecutorial discretion on whether to charge a particular individual with a crime based on circumstances. It is done multiple times every day in every county.

DeSantis is playing politics pure and simple. You don’t overturn the will of the electorate over words and not a serious breach of an elected official’s duty. When you start doing it, whether it is politically expedient and popular or not, then our system of government is no longer very stable.

Governor DeSantis’ latest stunt is using Florida taxpayers’ money to load migrants in Texas onto planes bound for Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Why is Florida tax money being spent on a Texas problem? If Governor Abbott can send Texas migrants north on busses, why does he need help from Florida? That political stunt cost over $600,000 for a mere 50 migrants.

Again, I agree with the governor that the federal government just can’t leave the migrants in Texas, Arizona, and to a lesser extent Florida to fend for themselves. It is a federal problem and responsibility…not a state one. Once processed, a migrant has all the legal rights of any resident while their cases are pending. That is the law.

The federal government should help these people find work, shelter, and other basics. The border states are overwhelmed and yet have very little to say over the policy that created the situation. While bussing them to the north may be politically popular to the DeSantis base, it serves no other purpose.

Florida has the lowest unemployment rate of the ten largest states. Employers are in desperate need of the very types of labor that the migrants are willing to do. It doesn’t help our economy to send away the people we need.

Yet when it comes to the “owning the libs” policy that DeSantis prioritizes, good policies do not count…only the show. Governor DeSantis is the first to say how oppressive the regimes of Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela are. Yet the very people that are fleeing that persecution are the ones that DeSantis put on planes as if animals. The DeSantis victims were Venezuelans voting with their feet to leave communism and socialism for the U.S.

I once thought Governor DeSantis was a small government libertarian- conservative. He has proven himself to be a mini-Trump. What happened is that ambition overtook sound policy and ideals, and that is too bad. DeSantis, unlike Donald Trump, could have been a competent governor and perhaps president. He has instead chosen the show instead of the substance of governing.

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Thomas F Campenni

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manager in New York City.