Let’s start with the obvious: Campaign DeSantis and Recount/Transition/Governor DeSantis are two very different people. What we’ve seen from Governor DeSantis over his first two weeks in office is what many hoped we’d see from President Trump after he was sworn in, a pivot from campaigning to governing. DeSantis has ditched the heated rhetoric and instead focused on issues where there is common ground between state Republicans and Democrats. A centrist, pragmatist leader getting things done and brining people together. What a novel concept!
Both of DeSantis’ picks for the Florida Supreme Court, Judge Barbara Lagoa and Judge Robert Luck, are very well-regarded and were met with praise from both sides of the aisle. The rollout of his environmental plan for the state, while met with skepticism from some Democrats, was generally viewed in a positive manner by both parties. The move by Governor DeSantis, along with the new Florida Cabinet, to pardon the Groveland Four was met with unanimous bipartisan support. His decision to end support for the legal fight over the state ban on smokable medical marijuana and instead follow the will of the people (who voted overwhelmingly in support of that constitutional amendment) was welcomed by Democrats and many Republicans. DeSantis has also made it a priority to visit the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Michael and has ordered officials to speed up the allocation of money needed to help clean up the region.
In my opinion, DeSantis has also been spot-on in his handling of some infamous Florida officials, including the suspensions of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel over his handling of the Parkland shooting and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher over her handling of the 2018 midterm election and recounts. He also rescinded the November 30th suspension by then Governor Rick Scott of Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, who was removed despite her plans to resign. In saying he wanted to "move beyond this controversy," DeSantis showed leadership on an issue where he didn't have to.
It’s hard to find much to criticize about Governor DeSantis’ first two weeks in office. The same politician who once seemed to put all of his energy into appearances on Fox News is now putting all of it into leading the state. He’s not simply focused on his base of support, as he seemed to be during the campaign, but on all Floridians. After a nasty, gutter-politics gubernatorial campaign in 2018, it’s nice to once again be hopeful for the future of our great state. Let's hope it continues.