Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who defied the spate of harsh lockdowns implemented across the nation by Democratic governors, endured mass criticism from the mainstream media, and saw his state become the haven for thousands of expatriates fleeing those same Democrat-run states, said that the policy he’s proudest of during his tenure during the COVID-19 pandemic was his decision to keep schools open so children were not damaged by severe lockdowns.
DeSantis told The Washington Examiner:
I’m most proud of getting our kids back at school. We knew the data; we knew it was low-risk. We felt we had to hold the line on this. We knew it was the case six to eight months ago. We were able to save the upbringing of hundreds of thousands of kids. They say you have to lock down, but states where kids are locked down, where kids aren’t in school, not playing sports, businesses are closed, have higher case numbers than we do.
Despite the media’s obsession with ripping DeSantis and Florida, the proof comes from where people migrate. And people wanting a better quality of life have good reason to choose Florida, as the Examiner’s Karol Markowicz notes:
The digital calendar website Burbio keeps tabs on “in-person community events held by libraries, governments, arts and recreation, chambers of commerce, and civic and volunteer groups” and tabulates a “community activity index,” with scores on a scale of 1-100. Florida consistently has a high score throughout the state. Miami is a 60. Manhattan and Los Angeles are both 20.
In December, DeSantis told Florida restaurant owners, “We just want to send a message: Some may want to shut you down; we want to pull you up. We’ve got your back. … If you’re somebody who’s a waitress or a cook or you’re a family-owned business, you’re an important part of our state. You’re working folks, who are working hard to make a living; you have every right to do that. You can take it to the bank in the state of Florida; you’re going to have that right defended by the governor.”
DeSantis told the Examiner: “There will be no state income tax as long as I’m here. We have a lean budget that provides good services. The infrastructure is better in Florida. We have a better approach to government that contributes to a better quality of life. Businesses appreciate that. People appreciate that.”
DeSantis has stated, “We will categorically not allow any local government to lock people down. We will not let any local government kick anybody out of their job. We will not let any local government fine individual Floridians. We will not let any local government shut down schools. And we’re not going to let any local governments do those things.”
“People in the corporate national media try to portray Florida as doing poorly with COVID, but the figures show the public doesn’t buy that. People have been voting with their feet. Twenty-five states have a higher COVID mortality average. In the pandemic as a whole, we’re 30th in cases,” DeSantis stated.
Markowicz recalls: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s adviser Rich Azzopardi ridiculously speculated that Florida was hiding its real statistics. When a former head of the New York state Democratic Party embarrassed the Cuomo administration by flying to Florida to get his coronavirus vaccine, Cuomo spokesman Jack Sterne responded, ‘Anyone holding Florida up as a good example of anything during this pandemic needs to have their head examined.’”
For a thread on how the media savaged DeSantis while lauding New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, see here.
Markowicz pointed out that Florida’s December 2020 unemployment rate, 6.1%, was lower than the national average of 6.7%, while New York state (8.2%) and New York City (11.4%) remained above it. “And these numbers don’t include Cuomo’s late-December arbitrary shutdown of indoor dining in New York City. The same month, California was at 8.8% and Texas was at 7.2%,” Markowicz added.
Markowicz opines, “As a New Yorker, it always felt like the center of gravity was in Manhattan. But with shuttered businesses, no arts, and dysfunctional leadership, that center of gravity is shifting to Florida in a very obvious way.”