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The Villages
Friday, June 21, 2024

GOP gubernatorial hopeful DeSantis greeted by packed-house in The Villages

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis took the stage at La Hacienda Recreation Center on Saturday to a roaring round of applause and a standing ovation.

The former Congressman then wasted little time in telling the packed-house audience why they should vote for him instead of his Democratic rival, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis told a full-house audience at La Hacienda Recreation Center on Saturday that there are many differences between him and his Democratic rival, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

“In our governor’s race this year, there’s a big difference in terms of the candidates,” he said. “I’m proud to say that between the two of us, I’m the only one who has worn the uniform of our country and served in Iraq,” the Navy veteran added.

DeSantis said he’s also “sad to say” that between him and Gillum, he’s the only one who believes in free enterprise versus socialism.

“Of course I believe in a free enterprise system,” he said to a round of applause.

DeSantis, who also held a rally in The Villages in July, then added that he’s also the only one of the two gubernatorial candidates who can say he’s not under an FBI investigation, referring to an ongoing probe into Tallahassee government. Gillum has insisted that the FBI has told him that he is not a target of the investigation.

Casey DeSantis, holding her son, Mason, prepares to introduce her husband, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, on Saturday.

DeSantis, who was introduced by his wife Casey, who visited The Villages last month, said Florida voters control the fate of the Sunshine State’s economy moving forward.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to protect Florida’s future and build off the success we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve never been better positioned to really expand the economic opportunities here, expand industries and create higher-paying jobs.”

He said a large part of the state’s current success lies with the policies in place under Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the Florida U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. Scott made a campaign stop in The Villages in September and Nelson was in Wildwood in July.

“We are and have to remain a low-tax state with no state income tax,” DeSantis said. “There’s never been a better opportunity for Florida to capitalize on having a good climate for economic growth, but you need me to be elected governor.”

A large crowd of supporters gathered Saturday at La Hacienda Recreation Center to hear GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speak.

Because, he added, Gillum wants to make residents pay higher taxes – despite the fact that Florida’s unemployment rate is under four percent, the state has been able to drive investments and states with higher taxes are losing people and businesses.

“His big idea is to come in as governor and raises taxes 40 percent,” said DeSantis, who has been endorsed by President Trump and the local Villagers for Trump club. “He thinks that would actually be good for Florida.”

Ron DeSantis makes a point about the reasons he should be elected governor Saturday as the crowd of La Hacienda Recreation Center breaks into a round of applause.

DeSantis said should a move would cause jobs to be lost, businesses to flee and stop the flow of investment into Florida from other high-tax states.

“It would be the political equivalent of shooting ourselves in the foot as a state,” he said. “And that’s the tax increase he’s willing to admit he’s going to seek.”

Community Development District 6 candidate Pat Francis, left, of the Village of Bridgeport at Miona Shores, and Ed Kostrzewski, of the Village of St. James, were looking forward to hearing gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis speak Saturday.

DeSantis, who carried every Villages precinct over Villages Developer-backed candidate Adam Putnam in the Aug. 28 primary election, said a non-partisan study recently showed that to achieve Gillum’s agenda as governor, Floridians would have to pay a state sales tax of 38 percent or expect to begin paying a state income tax.

“Once you go down that direction,” DeSantis said, “Florida is done economically. We’re not going to let that happen.”

Villagers came from throughout Florida’s Friendliest Hometown to hear GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis speak Saturday at La Hacienda Recreation Center.

DeSantis also referred to the 39-year-old Gillum, who attended a campaign forum in May in The Villages, as a guy who’s “never met a tax he didn’t want to hike,” citing his tenure as an elected official since he was a college student.

“This guy has been hostile to taxpayers every step of the way,” he said.
DeSantis also cited the crime rate in Tallahassee as a Gillum failure.

“Last year, Tallahassee has the most murders in the history of the city,” he said. “He’s been an abject failure as mayor and the crime is out of control. That’s his legacy.”

GOP candidate Ron DeSantis, with wife Casey and son Mason by his side, addresses a crowd of enthusiastic Republican voters at La Hacienda Center on Saturday. The couple’s daughter, Madison, was backstage with her grandmother.
Susan Kelly, of the Village of Buttonwood and a member of Villagers for Trump.

DeSantis told the crowd that he’s prepared for the final two and half weeks of the campaign and he and his team are working hard to make sure he gets elected as governor.

“Now’s the time to stand up,” he said. “Now’s the time to be heard. In this community, we need everyone voting. That’s just the bottom line.”

One Villager who made it clear that she’d be voting for DeSantis was Susan Kelly, of the Village of Buttonwood. The member of Villagers for Trump said she and her husband, Les, moved to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown about six years ago to escape the high tax rates they faced in Connecticut.

“We need DeSantis because we need to keep our taxes here low, not high,” said Kelly, who also took part in Friday night’s large Villagers for Trump golf cart parade through Lake Sumter Landing and Spanish Springs Town Square. “Here, we live comfortably and it’s a great environment. Go Ron!”

Tavares resident Dennis Peoples, who serves as second vice chair for the Lake County Republican Party.

Tavares resident Dennis Peoples, who serves as second vice chair for the Lake County Republican Party, said he grew up in a family of Democrats and has been a Republican for more than 50 years.

“As a kid, I saw what the Democrat Party actually does to black families, or any family for that matter,” he said. “They destroy the family structure. They take the man out of the home. And so now today we have kids walking around with their pants down and no respect for law and order. It’s very destructive for us as a nation.”

GOP Gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis says Florida voters control the fate of the Sunshine State’s economy moving forward.

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