Unpredictable Florida governor Ron DeSantis cleans house and bucks status quo to make state great

The last time most Americans heard of Ron DeSantis, the former GOP congressman had edged past Mayor Andrew Gillum, D-Tallahassee, in their rough-and-tumble wrestling match for Florida’s governorship. After contested recounts in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, DeSantis, 40, prevailed over Gillum, 39, by a margin more svelte than Palm Beach — 49.6 percent to 49.2 percent. Among 8.1 million ballots cast, just 32,463 votes divided victor from vanquished.

Since his January 8 inauguration, DeSantis has done far more than rearrange the gubernatorial furniture. Indeed, he has led a burst of pro-market, limited-government reforms that are making Florida even greater.

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• Most significantly, DeSantis replaced three Florida supreme court justices who were required to retire at age 75. His appointees — Barbara Lagoa, Robert J. Luck, and Carlos Muñiz — have shifted the court’s composition from four liberals and three conservatives to one liberal and six conservatives. This jump to the right should keep the Sunshine State’s top tribunal safe for constitutionalism.

• DeSantis pioneered Florida Deregathon — a one-day summit in which agency heads targeted red tape, especially in occupational licensing. While eye surgeons and airline pilots should certify their competence, why do nail polishers and boxing timekeepers need Tallahassee’s permission to work? Florida’s 1,200-hour training requirement for new barbers, for instance, stymies competition by boosting costs and headaches for new entrants.

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DeSantis summoned the chiefs of 23 professional-licensing boards to Orlando to “discuss, debate, identify and recommend substantive regulations that can be targeted for immediate elimination,” as his letter told these officials. “I see this event as a first step toward creating a regulatory climate as welcoming as the Florida sunshine.”

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