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  • Jasmine Lien

Palm Beach Republicans welcome DeSantis on campaign tour

DeSantis supporters at rally wave signs to show support. (Photo courtesy: Jasmine Lien.)

BOYNTON BEACH, FLA. – “Don’t take freedom for granted,” Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

The week before the midterm elections, DeSantis held a “Don’t Tread on Florida” tour, stopping in Palm Beach County on Nov. 7 to garner last-minute support.

DeSantis supporters crowd at the front of the stage to speak or take pictures with the Florida governor. (Photo courtesy: Jasmine Lien.)

Hundreds of supporters attended the free event, raising “Keep Florida Free” signs, sporting red caps and displaying large flags depicting DeSantis’ face. The rally was held in a warehouse owned by the Everglades Equipment Group, a commercial and industrial John Deere equipment supplier.

Willy Guardiola, president of the Palm Beach County Right to Life league, also wore his beliefs on his sleeve. On the left shoulder of a shirt that read, “God’s got this,” Guardiola displayed a pin supporting DeSantis.

Although he only assisted in promoting this event, Guardiola has organized many rallies for former President Donald Trump, as well as events and rallies for DeSantis.

“I feel excited about our governor…. It’s gonna be the biggest victory in the Republican Party in many years,” Guardiola said.

Other Republican leaders also expressed strong convictions about a reelection for DeSantis.

Michael Barnett, chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, said he expected to see a “big red wave crash.” Barnett expressed support for DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republicans in both local partisan races and Congress. He added that there are more than 300,000 registered Republican voters in Florida than there were two years ago.

Trucks lined next to John Deere tractors display flags endorsing DeSantis. (Photo courtesy: Jasmine Lien.)

Barnett said that he believes the increase in Republican voters is due to people moving from predominantly Democratic states to live under DeSantis’ policies in Florida.

“They know what it’s like to lose their freedoms in New York, California and a lot of these other states where we’ve seen the results of these unwarranted, unjustified [COVID-19] lockdowns,” Barnett said. “Whereas Governor DeSantis has kept Florida open and free for business [and] for our schools.”

Peter Feaman, the national committeeman of the Republican Party of Florida, said he hopes that DeSantis will continue to fight big government, keep taxes low, allow businesses to prosper through less regulations and give parents control of the curriculum taught to their children in the public school system.

"It's all about liberty, freedom," Feaman said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking about his policies during his "Don't Tread on Florida Tour" stop in Palm Beach County. (Photo courtesy: Jasmine Lien.)

At the rally, DeSantis reiterated his policies, eliciting loud agreements from his supporters. He advocated for no vaccine mandates, maintaining public order, protecting women athletes, and removing the medical license of any physician who either gives puberty blockers or performs sex reassignment surgery for minors. In an effort to discourage progressive education policies, DeSantis favored banning critical race theory, enforcing the Parents’ Rights in Education bill and keeping curricula transparent in public schools.

“We in Florida will never, ever, surrender to the ‘woke’ mob,” DeSantis said.

He also addressed some of his concerns about the policies of his opponents. He talked about lawlessness in California, the border crisis, the life-threatening use and transportation of fentanyl, inflation and the rising cost of energy.

"We chose freedom over fascism," DeSantis said.

As DeSantis ended his speech, “Sweet Florida,” a tribute song for DeSantis by brothers Johnny and Donnie Van Zant, blared in the background.

"He's a man of conviction, a man of character and he backs up what he believes with action," Feaman said about DeSantis.

DeSantis secured a second term as governor after Election Day, beating U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist with nearly 60% of the vote. Many counties that were historically blue turned red, including Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

By Jasmine Lien

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