Just before noon on Tuesday, Ron DeSantis stood before the crowd gathered in front of the Florida historic Capitol, placed his hand on a Bible and took the oath of office to become the state’s 46th governor.
The crowd of about 3,000 people erupted in applause as the military fired off a 19-gun salute nearby to honor the new governor. Overhead four National Guard aircraft soared over the Capitol in formation.
Gov. DeSantis then addressed the crowd of about 3,000 supporters.
DeSantis is a former Congressman, Gulf war veteran and Naval officer. His inaugural address included references to his Naval career.
“I take the helm of the ship of state as a Florida native, a veteran of our nation’s military, conscious of my own deficiencies, mindful of the great trust that has been placed in me and thankful for so many of you who have prayed for me,” DeSantis told the crowd.
“Being charged with leading a state with so much promise, all I can promise is the sweat off my brow, a full heart, my best judgment and the courage of my convictions,” he added.
DeSantis vowed his administration would not stray off course from the principles he espoused during the campaign.
“I will not be a rudderless vessel in this endeavor; my compass will be the principles reflected in the constitutional oath I have just taken, and for which Americans have given their lives: that our rights are endowed by God, not government; that we the people loan power to government under the Constitution in order to protect our rights; that government’s role is not to run our lives for us but to provide what Lincoln called an ‘open field and fair chance for one’s industry, enterprise and intelligence,’”
He said those principles endure not because they are partisan, but because they are right.
DeSantis didn’t get into specifics of policies that his administration will propose in the coming days and weeks, but he made it clear that the environment and water quality will be top priorities for him and his staff.
“For Florida, the quality of our water and environmental surroundings are foundational to our prosperity as a state – it doesn’t just drive tourism; it affects property values, anchors many local economies and is central to our quality of life,” DeSantis said. “The water is part and parcel of Florida’s DNA. Protecting it is the smart thing to do; it’s also the right thing to do.”
During his 20-minute speech, the new governor talked about the need to address health care costs and providing school choice to more students in Florida whose parents believe that their children’s public schools are failing them.
He also promised to build on the economic foundation that former-Gov. Rick Scott established over the past eight years.
Scott, who attended most of the swearing-in ceremony, disappeared from the platform immediately after DeSantis was sworn-in. Scott was due to be in Washington, D.C., this afternoon so he could take the oath of office in the U.S. Senate.
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez took the oath of office just before DeSantis. They were preceded by Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief of Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, both Republicans. Patronis was appointed CFO by former-Gov. Rick Scott a year-anda-half ago. New Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat elected to the Florida Cabinet, was also sworn-in.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, DeSantis and Nuñez met with legislative leaders at a lunch held at the Capitol.
The final event of the two day Inauguration will take place later today with the Inaugural Ball at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee.
DeSantis promises a full schedule in his first week in office.
On Monday the new governor promised a very busy week to reporters, including the possible removal of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and at least one of the three appointments to the Florida Supreme Court he’ll get to make once he takes office on Tuesday.