As soon as 2023 rings in, Florida leaders will be sworn-in for their four-year terms in office.
That goes for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has even more Republican support now as he begins his second term. He was the youngest Florida governor on his first inauguration day four years ago, since Park Trammell took the oath of office in 1913.
Trammell was 36 years old. DeSantis had turned 40 four months before he took the oath.
Monday was officially a holiday, New Year’s Day observed, so the Capitol is much more quiet than other Mondays. It will be a radically different scene on Tuesday with cabinet members swearing in on the steps of the Old Capitol.
News4JAX caught some of the preparations, with a run-through taking place. The ceremony Tuesday will be a mid-day break from other duties state lawmakers have.
News4JAX spoke with both Republican Speaker of the House Paul Renner and Democratic State Rep. Angie Nixon. Nixon said she’s going to hold Republicans accountable. Renner is excited to start his new role in the House and he’s a firm supporter of the governor.
“It’s very exciting,” Renner said. “I mean, great time for the governor and his family obviously coming off a huge win — 20 point win and getting to do it all over again for another four years, and I know we’ll have the same success that he’s had for the last four and with a little stronger Legislature. We’re gonna do great things.”
Nixon is one of two Democratic House members from our region in Northeast Florida. The other eight are Republicans.
“As the Democrats, we have to do a better job of letting them know that we’re fighting for them, and that we’re looking after their best interests,” Nixon said. “But let’s be clear, right? Folks in Florida are not doing that great here.”
Democrats and Republicans differing on policy is to be expected. While Renner says he wants every voice heard, Nixon says she knows it’s an uphill battle.
While the governor celebrates a new term, lawmakers are already working to get their priorities in front of decision makers.
A key element is what those lawmakers think about the governor.
“He’s pandering to a base,” Nixon said. “We would hope that he was pushing things like addressing the housing crisis that we are currently and making sure that we’re making Florida more affordable for folks to live in, but instead, again, we have someone who’s super ambitious to be president of the United States that does not care as much as Floridians as he should be.”
“I’ll be in meetings tomorrow morning before the inauguration,” Renner said. “We’ll go right back after it and get to work. So we’re getting right to work in between the ceremony, but it’s an important time to pause and just give the governor a moment to talk to the state and congratulate him on a great win.”
Throughout the state, Republicans hold a Super Majority in the House and Senate making it easier for DeSantis to get his agenda accomplished.
DeSantis became the Sunshine State’s first Generation X governor, following three baby boomers — Rick Scott, Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush.
DeSantis served in the Navy before nearly three terms in Congress representing Northeast Florida.
The first time around, DeSantis had a narrow win against Democrat challenger Andrew Gillum.
This time, it was a blowout election victory to earn his second term, winning by roughly 20 points.
November’s elections saw an increase in the Republican influence in state government, and with Wilton Simpson elected as agriculture commissioner, now all the Cabinet positions are held by Republicans.
That indicates DeSantis will have all the support he needs for his second-term goals.
DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis celebrated four years ago at the inaugural ball. The big dance is on the agenda once again and scheduled to return to the Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee on Tuesday night.
The inauguration ceremony is one thing. The other events surrounding the inauguration are fundraising opportunities. The team for DeSantis has been offering VIP treatment to the events, even including a million-dollar donation-level package.
News4JAX will have more from the ceremony on Tuesday, which starts at 11 a.m. DeSantis is expected to take the oath around noon.
We’ll be streaming it live here on News4JAX.com and News4JAX+.