DeSantis visits Live Oak, gives $1.9 million check  

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis
File photo by Seth Johnson

Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in Live Oak on Tuesday to award $1.9 million towards the Suwannee County Industrial Catalyst Site, located at the intersection of I-75, I-10 and US 90.  

The funds came from Job Growth Grant Fund and will allow the 500-acre site to expand its water distribution infrastructure and treatment facilities. DeSantis said the expansion will help attract companies to the location.  

The state estimates that the grant will fuel 1,000 new jobs and $10 million in economic development, according to DeSantis. He also highlighted the value placed on rural counties by his administration.  

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“We’ve been to every single rural county; we’ve delivered for every single rural county throughout the state,” DeSantis said at the event in Live Oak.  

In May, the governor stopped in Gilchrist County to present a $23 million award, and he held a conference in Williston two weeks earlier.  

Before giving the check, DeSantis also commented on national issues and their impacts on Florida, including rule of law, COVID-19 and education.  

DeSantis said many governments across the country have devalued law enforcement and public safety, saying it’s hard “to get the genie back in the bottle” with respect to law and order.  

President Joe Biden’s policies at the border with Mexico constituted one example used by DeSantis. He also mentioned Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren who was removed from office earlier in August.  

“We had a prosecutor over in Tampa that said he’s not going to enforce laws that he doesn’t like, so we removed him from his post,” DeSantis said.  

Audience members backed the governor with applause.  

Warren signed a pledge that he wouldn’t enforce the state’s abortion and transgender treatment laws, and he sued DeSantis on Aug. 17 over the removal, calling it a violation of First Amendment rights.  

Voter fraud entered the discussion as well. DeSantis backed the creation of the Office of Election Crimes and Security. He said Floridians had voted to create the election laws, and the state would enforce them.  

DeSantis said the process isn’t complicated: felons can’t vote while in prison or if they’ve committed sexual assault or homicide crimes. He said anyone who reports otherwise is lying and called into question a voter drive held by the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office in a jail before the 2020 election.  

DeSantis also touched on the economy. He pointed to Florida’s $20 billion surplus from the past fiscal year along with what he called the largest tax breaks in state history at $1.2 billion in overall relief.  

The governor said his office will release the tax relief budget for next year in the coming weeks, and the tax savings will exceed last year.  

A gas tax holiday will also arrive for Floridians in October. DeSantis said he’d have preferred the relief to come earlier, but the Legislature decided on the fall when tourism has waned. The governor noted that gas prices remain high and could return to levels seen earlier this year.  

He said the U.S. needs to bolster its own supply of energy. 

“You have a lot of turmoil around the world, and I think it’s something that’s going to continue to be problematic,” DeSantis said. “It’s a matter of national security to be energy independent and to have the type of energy you need.” 

Also within the economic realm, DeSantis called Biden’s plan to help pay off student debt a “misfire” for the administration that will lead to more inflation.  

He also called the plan unfair, pointing out that some Floridians chose a technical school or alternative to university to avoid debt. Now, DeSantis said, those citizens will still pay for student debt through taxes.  

The governor said Florida has frozen tuition at state institutions. He also said K-12 performance continues to improve but added that the state needs to protect the public school system.  

“If these schools just end up being a cog in somebody’s political agenda, we’re not going to have good performance as a result of that,” DeSantis said. “So we’re holding the line on that very strongly, and there’s others that would go a much different direction.” 

State Rep. Chuck Brannan, R-District 10, attended the press conference in Live Oak. He said DeSantis has been active in the county, showing up at football games and helping the county fair take place.  

“When you sit there and you listen to this great governor, the wheels start turning in your head don’t they,” Brannan said at the conference. 

DeSantis also held a press conference in Ft. Pierce earlier on Tuesday where he announced a $2.3 million grant for infrastructure.  

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I hope the voters show up for DeSantis and other best choices in November. God knows the criminals and communists will show up too.

Susie Nelson

I won’t be!