Florida’s next governor tells Villagers he’s eager to make supreme court picks

Florida’s next governor told a gathering Saturday in The Villages that he is looking forward to naming three state supreme court justices “right out of the gate.”

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis brought his “thank you” tour to La Hacienda Recreation Center. Considering his event was scheduled at the same time as the annual Christmas parade in The Villages, the governor-elect respectably filled about half the room at the recreation center at Spanish Springs.

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis addresses a crowd Saturday in The Villages.

He stepped on stage to the Rocky III theme song, “Eye of the Tiger,” and enjoyed an enthusiastic reception worthy of the main event.

DeSantis had been preceded by speakers state Sen. Dennis Baxley, Attorney General-elect Ashley Moody and his wife, Casey DeSantis.

Casey DeSantis described her fears of bringing young children into the Governor’s Mansion.

She had been a visitor to The Villages this past September, and on Saturday confided her fears to a group she treated like old friends.

She pointed out that she and her husband, with their 8-month-old son and two-year-old daughter, will be the first family with young children in many years at the Governor’s Mansion.

She said she is worried about the historic, fragile breakables in the Governor’s Mansion and said they will have to embark on some serious kid-proofing. She joked about macaroni and cheese potentially landing on historic wallpaper.

Her husband said he is eager to get to work and is glad to be out of the “D.C. Swamp” where he served as a Congressman.

Gov. Ron DeSantis shook hands with Villagers at the event.

“As governor, I will be able to set the agenda and get things done. This is night and day from D.C.,” DeSantis told the crowd.

High on his agenda are those supreme court picks.

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis was happy to pose for photos at Saturday’s event.

The governor-elect has received a list of 11 nominees from the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. The list includes seven appellate court judges, two trial court judges and two other lawyers. 

His three choices will replace Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, who are leaving the court in January because they have reached the mandatory retirement age. DeSantis will be inaugurated on Jan. 8 and those three terms will end the same day.

DeSantis drew applause when he took a swipe at embattled Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. She resigned in the wake of another election debacle in her county, but then rescinded her resignation. Gov. Rick Scott has suspended her, but she has vowed to fight the suspension.

DeSantis called Snipes’ malfeasance “a stain” on the state.

“We are going to clean this up and make sure it is done right,” he vowed.

DeSantis invited Villagers to come to the inauguration in January in Tallahassee.

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis spoke Saturday at La Hacienda Recreation Center.

“I’m not sure how the tickets work, but it’s an outdoor event, right?” he said.

Saturday’s visit was all about expressing his gratitude.

“I am thankful we have a place like The Villages in this state,” he said.

Ashley Moody is the attorney general-elect. She spoke at Saturday’s event in The Villages.