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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Florida has a new governor.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis was sworn in Tuesday as Florida’s new governor as Republicans begin their third decade dominating the state’s Capitol.
His inauguration ceremony took place in front of Florida’s Old Capitol, where he laid out his vision for the next four years.
WATCH RON DESANTIS TAKE OATH OF OFFICE HERE:
Following his oath of office, the new Governor delivered his inaugural speech with promises to keep taxes low and to make schools and the environment a priority.
“Let’s promote a virtuous cycle whereby low taxes, a reasonable regulatory climate, a sensible legal system and a healthy environment attract jobs, businesses and investment — particularly in the areas of technology, manufacturing and finance,” he said.
He said the environment will be a high priority, citing the need to eliminate toxic algae that grow from Lake Okeechobee pollutants and to address red tide off the state’s coast.
“For Florida, the quality of our water and environmental surroundings are foundational to our prosperity as a state.” he said. “It doesn’t just drive tourism; it affects property values, anchors many local economies and is central to our quality of life. The water is part and parcel of Florida’s DNA. Protecting it is the smart thing to do, but it’s also the right thing to do.”
He added, “I will lead the efforts to save our waterways. We will fight toxic blue-green algae, we will fight discharges from Lake Okeechobee, we will fight red tide, we will fight for our fishermen, we will fight for our beaches, we will fight to restore our Everglades and we will never ever quit, we won’t be cowed and we won’t let the foot draggers stand in our way.”
In a speech filled with naval references, the former Navy officer also promised to be tough on illegal immigration and to appoint Supreme Court justices who won’t “legislate from the bench.”
“I also understand that the role of the judiciary, while important, must be limited. It is a self-evident truth that in our constitutional system, courts lack the authority to legislate, but for far too long Florida has seen judges expand their power beyond proper constitutional bounds and substitute legislative will for dispassionate legal judgment, damaging the constitutional separation of powers, reducing the power of the people and eroding individual liberty.”
“To my fellow Floridians, I say to you: judicial activism ends, right here and right now. I will only appoint judges who understand the proper role of the courts is to apply the law and Constitution as written, not to legislate from the bench. The Constitution, not the judiciary, is supreme.”
WATCH HIS ENTIRE INAUGURAL SPEECH HERE:
Tuesday’s inaugural festivities got off to an early start Tuesday at the traditional morning prayer breakfast.
It was a non-denominational ceremony with a pastor and a rabbi taking part.
“We ask, right from the beginning of this very significant day, you would bless Governor-Elect DeSantis and Lt. Governor Nunez,” said Pastor Todd Mullins.
“Recognize that we need to work together for the same goal. To repair our world to make it a better, safer and a healthier place for us,” said Rabbi Mark Kram.
DeSantis is replacing Gov. Rick Scott, who will be sworn into the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. DeSantis praised Scott’s work over the previous four years.
“Your laser-like focus on improving Florida’s economy has meant so much in the lives of so many here in our state. You are leaving a strong foundation from which we here today can build,” DeSantis said. “It now falls to me to build upon the foundation that has been laid, navigate the challenges — economic, environmental, constitutional — that lie ahead, and steer Florida to a stronger, cleaner and safer future.”
DeSantis, 40, is the youngest governor in decades and the first to live in the governor’s mansion with young children in a half-century. He decided to forgo the traditional inaugural parade. Instead, he and his wife, Casey, will hold a baptism ceremony at the mansion for their 9-month-old son, Mason.
“Casey and I have decided to dispense with the parade that typically takes place after these inaugurations; instead, we will return to the Governor’s mansion to have our little boy Mason baptized with water we brought back from the Sea of Galilee in Israel.”
DeSantis is expected to take swift action in the next week on a number of issues. He will appoint the first of three Supreme Court justices on Wednesday and decide whether to suspend Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. Israel has been criticized for the performance of his deputies during the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. He also has hinted he might take action against other officials.
ALSO SWORN INTO OFFICE
The highest ranking Hispanic woman in Florida history is lieutenant governor Jeanette Nuñez.
The former state representative from Miami-Dade spoke at a prayer breakfast before she was sworn in.
“Throughout my career, I’ve challenged myself to live by faith, to live by those principles, especially in an environment like politics,” she said.
Also sworn into office Tuesday was Nikki Fried, the first Democrat in nearly twenty years to be elected Agriculture Commissioner.
The Fort Lauderdale lawyer is the first woman ever elected to the role.
New Attorney General Ashley Moody and returning Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also took the oath.