Governor DeSantis: A historic dynamic beginning
By Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr.
President and Publisher
Governor DeSantis must be applauded, commended and appreciated for the impressive actions that he took in his first few days as our 46th Governor. The Governor took unprecedented steps to make Florida a better state. He gave a moving and inspiring inaugural address, where he laid out a bold and bright future for Florida. His message was focused on the environment, ethics in government, school choice, economic development, civility, equality, diversity and rebuilding north west Florida, which was severely devastated by Hurricane Michael.
In a few days, this governor boldly and with grace, put his words into action. He visited Mexico Beach, met with the mayor of Mexico Beach, Al Cathey, business and community leaders and citizens. The governor promised them that he is “in it for the long haul.” I believe him. He will encourage the federal and state governments to come up with the necessary resources to rebuild these rural communities that Hurricane Michael left in total disarray and destruction.
Governor DeSantis launched an aggressive plan to restore the Everglades. He signed an executive order that impressively called for 2.5 billion dollars in the next four years to address the red tide and blue-green algae crisis in the Everglades. He created a Blue-Green Algae Task Force. Under his executive order, he called for a “Science Officer.” Because this governor believes in science, he developed the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency. The governor appears to be very serious about protecting our environment. He said, “At the end of the day, what we have been able to show is that these issues in Florida do not fall on partisan lines.”
In his first week in office, he clearly demonstrated that ethics matter. He removed the Okaloosa School Superintendent. He replaced the Sheriff of Broward County, Scott Israel, because the governor was not pleased with how he handled the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The governor said, “The families of the victims deserve accountability.” Amen! Listen, the governor appointed a highly qualified 40 year old veteran police officer as acting sheriff. Gregory Tony is the first African American sheriff in Broward County. Kudos to you governor!
The story of his first week gets so much better and historic. He granted a posthumous pardon to four Black men who were wrongly convicted for raping a White woman on July 16, 1949. Yes, he granted a posthumous pardon to the Groveland Four: Earnest Thomas, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin. Attorney General Ashley Moody, a member of the Cabinet, profoundly declared he was “righting a wrong of 70 years ago.” The governor so powerfully pronounced, “You’d like to think that in America, no matter what passions or prejudices may be on the outside of a courtroom, that when you actually get in that courtroom, that it’s the law applied to the facts without passions or prejudices that will decide their fate. I don’t know that there is anyway you could look at this case and think that those ideals of justice were satisfied. Indeed, they were perverted time and time again.” Remember, the governor is a lawyer and former prosecutor. Thank you governor and cabinet for your courageous and righteous decision.
Finally, the governor signed an executive order that bans discrimination in state agencies on the basis of race, religion and sex. His administration reflects his vision of equality and diversity. He has appointed the first Cuban American as his Lieutenant Governor; he appointed the first Hispanic female justice to the Supreme Court; and he has significant African Americans in his administration and several from the other political party.
This governor is off to a great and impressive start. Let us pray that God continues to bless him with the wisdom, grace, gifts, strength and good health to lead us for many years. I was honored and humbled that he asked me to give the closing prayer after his masterful inaugural speech. Move us forward, Governor DeSantis!!
Rev. Dr. R. B. Holmes, Jr.