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  • Sarah Gale

Ron DeSantis advises students on how to campaign


Gov. Ron DeSantis waves goodbye to students at Palm Beach Atlantic University's Rinker board room in the Warren Library. (Photo courtesy: Sarah Gale)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis advised Palm Beach Atlantic University students during a Q&A session on Feb. 14 to start building their own platform if they wanted to run for public office in the future.


The meeting was held in the Warren Library at PBA and lasted about 15 minutes, during which DeSantis spoke about the process of becoming well known enough to be a contender in an election.


DeSantis described running for office without first building a platform as difficult, noting the challenge of gaining recognition when he ran for Congress.


"I had a great resume, but no one knew me from Adam," DeSantis said.


He encouraged students to start by letting people know who they are, then suggested that running for smaller offices, rather than a state position, is an easier way to meet people.

"There are people who spend 30 or 40 million dollars, and no one knows who they are," DeSantis said about the nature of campaigning.

He reflected on door-knocking with his wife during his first campaign, estimating that he reached around 11,000 voters through this process.


"You have a lot of easy access to people all over the world, but you can also get drowned out because there are a lot of voices," said Sarah Foster, PBA senior and presidential ambassador student coordinator.


DeSantis emphasized that meeting the voters gave him more information than a poll ever could. While he recalled his experience as difficult, he also described it as impactful. People still approach him, saying he knocked on their door in 2012.


Foster said she thinks that campaigning in today’s digital climate could be easier because of social media, but it still comes with challenges.


DeSantis warned that public office would only suit someone with thick skin, as people lie about, attack and smear candidates.


DeSantis added that while such actions did not bother him, others might be happy serving elsewhere. According to him, there are plenty of opportunities to be involved and "make a splash" in government.


"There's always, in government, people looking for good people," DeSantis said in his conclusion.


The session ended with students giving a standing round of applause for the governor, but PBA sophomore Rebecca Nacy was left wanting more from the Q&A session. Nacy wished there had been more questions about DeSantis' stance on specific political concerns.


"There were only two questions, and I wasn't really invested in either of those," Nacy said.


Nacy said that she would have brought about more controversial subjects like gun control if given a few seconds.


However, Foster said it was an exciting opportunity to get insight from the governor. Foster believes it is essential for people to be educated about politics to make a more informed decision on voting day.



By Sarah Gale


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