TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Governor-elect Ron DeSantis will officially become the 46th governor of Florida Tuesday morning, keeping the state’s Republican stronghold in place.
The ceremony starts at 11 a.m., DeSantis will be sworn in on the Capitol steps at 12 p.m., but there won’t be a big inaugural parade. DeSantis canceled it, saying he wants to get straight to work.
“Tomorrow is a day to articulate a vision, talk about some of the key issues in just broad strokes,” said DeSantis on Monday.
He has a major task before him - finding three new State Supreme Court justices who are expected to turn a more progressive court into a conservative one.
“I interviewed all 11 one-on-one. They were all a pretty impressive bunch of folks,” said DeSantis. “But, look, I always want to promote people from a variety of walks of life.”
He plans to appoint one of them on Wednesday. DeSantis also plans to visit areas hit hardest during the hurricane season.
“We’re going to be focusing on storm recovery. I’ve traveled there a bunch of times as a candidate, as governor-elect,” he said. “Those people in northwest Florida are working their tail off. They’ve done a great job, but they need help.”
Prison reform and sentencing laws are also on the table.
“At the end of the day, our responsibility is to protect the public, hold people accountable. But I want to do that as cost-effectively as possible,” he said.
FOX 13 Political Editor Craig Patrick said there will be less drama and more collaboration from DeSantis with his own party, and he expects more of an openness to work with Democrats, a party long shut out.
“The governor-elect has sent signals by appointing Democrats to key positions within his administration, more than one. Democrats are taking that as a sign that he may be more willing to work and reach across the aisle than his predecessor,” Patrick said.
Patrick said he also expects DeSantis to pardon the Groveland Four this week at his scheduled clemency board meeting Friday. They were four black men who were murdered, tortured or falsely imprisoned after being falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1949. The Florida legislature approved a resolution in 2017 apologizing to their families and urging clemency.