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DeSantis gives nod to women in workforce at Jacksonville event

Outside campaign event, former TV anchor argues DeSantis not 'pro-women'

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Election Day just a week away, both Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and his running mate, state Rep. Jeanette Nunez, made one more pitch to Jacksonville voters at an event Tuesday morning in Mandarin. 

DeSantis told the crowd that in a campaign of stark choices, he's the right candidate to lead the Sunshine State, not his opponent in the Florida governor's race, Democrat Andrew Gillum.

"As good as Florida has done, we have not reached our potential," DeSantis said. "There's a lot more we can do."

The former U.S. representative spoke about his goal to keep taxes low in Florida, and his support for law enforcement. DeSantis, who resigned from Congress weeks after the primary, went on to push for honest government, citing questions regarding Gillum's acceptance of theater tickets.

He also pushed for vocational and technical training, and his interest in growing industries. With that, he gave a nod to women in the workforce.

"More woman-owned businesses -- I want new businesses to come into creation. I want women to be able to start something from scratch," DeSantis said. "I think Florida can be the place for that. We can do it here in Florida."

DeSantis was introduced by his wife, Casey DeSantis, who said she couldn't be more proud of her husband's accomplishments.

"It's fun to watch Ron (DeSantis) and Jeanette Nunez campaign all over the state. They're doing great," she said.

Not everyone agrees that Ron DeSantis is a champion for women's issues. Health care advocate Donna Deegan, former Jacksonville news anchor and three-time breast cancer survivor, spoke to reporters outside DeSantis' event. She pointed to his voting record during his time in Congress. 

"He has voted repeatedly, repeatedly, to deprive people of coverage for pre-existing conditions," Deegan said. "You're talking about 300,000 people and more in his own district."

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Deegan also pointed to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which hasn't happened in Florida, and the impact it has had on people -- women included.   

"What I'd like for women to ask themselves, 'Is Ron DeSantis pro-women?'" Deegan said. "I would argue that he is not."

Deegan later joined Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who faces Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida's U.S. Senate race, at a campaign event Tuesday afternoon in Jacksonville.

Meanwhile, Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, spent the day campaigning at multiple stops in Southwest Florida as both he and DeSantis fight hard to sway undecided voters in the final days before to the Nov. 6 election. 


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