RPOF Newsletter – From the desk of Chairman Joe Gruters

Chairman’s Message

Following the Biden Administration’s continued politicization of the pandemic, Joe Biden thought he had a clear line of attack related to Covid against Governor Ron DeSantis but it backfired. Bigly. Governor DeSantis swiftly swung back demonstrating what a sharp and principled leader he is.

“Joe Biden suggests that if you don’t do lockdown policies, then you should ‘get out of the way.’ But let me tell you this: If you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way. I’m not going to let you get away with it,” DeSantis said. “If you’re trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I’m going to stand in your way and I’m going to stand up for the kids in Florida. If you’re trying to restrict people, impose mandates, if you’re trying to ruin their jobs and their livelihoods and their small business, if you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way and I’m standing for the people of Florida…Why don’t you do your job, why don’t you get this border secure and until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.”

Personal liberty over government diktat.

Later, Governor DeSantis convened a roundtable of healthcare industry leaders in Florida to discuss the hospital situation and vaccine effectiveness. And again found that the media “hysteria” and White House claims that hospitals were being “overwhelmed” were exaggerated. All of the hospital executives said their hospitals were in good shape in dealing with the increase.

“Ninety-five percent of our current patients that are here are unvaccinated,” said Shane Strum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broward Health. “Talking about that average age, ours was in the low 70s last time. This time, it’s in the 50s, low 50s. So, you see a big difference there. I think another critical or important number to share with you would be that 80% of our patient census is non-COVID patients.”

Although the number of beds in use has increased over the past few weeks, the leadership of these hospitals reported that 5% to 20% of inpatients are due to COVID-19. Jackson Health reports this number was as high as 50% last summer. Every hospital executive said there was no foreseeable risk of hospitals being unable to adequately treat patients.

The primary reason for the age decline is the success of Florida’s emphasis on vaccinating the most vulnerable, specifically the elderly. More than 85 percent of those over 65 in Florida are vaccinated.

The panel included:

John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital
Carlos Migoya, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Health System
Shane Strum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broward Health
David Strong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orlando Health
George Ralls, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Orlando Health
Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Simone Marstiller and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry were also on the panel.

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/08/04/governor-ron-desantis-hosts-roundtable-with-ahca-secretary-simone-marstiller-jacksonville-mayor-lenny-curry-and-florida-hospital-ceos/

Watch the full roundtable video: https://rumble.com/vkq8hf-governor-desantis-hosts-a-roundtable-with-hospital-ceos.html

The Environmental Governor

This week continued to show the results of Governor DeSantis environmental leadership in protecting and restoring Florida’s natural habitats.

First, the Governor was joined by leaders combating red tide to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Facility at Mote Marine Laboratory. This cutting-edge experimental facility at Mote Aquaculture Research Park in Sarasota will allow scientists to test technologies prior to pilot field implementation.

“The new Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Facility at Mote Marine Lab will provide scientists the ability to research red tide, and hopefully lead to new technologies that prevent and mitigate harmful blooms,” Governor DeSantis said. “I am proud that we were able to create this facility through a state partnership between FWC, DEP and Mote Marine, and I look forward to putting it to work.”

In his first legislative session, Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1552, which established the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative, a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory to develop technologies and approaches to control and mitigate red tide and its impacts. The legislation provided a $3 million annual appropriation to the initiative for six years, totaling $18 million.

“The State of Florida has again demonstrated today that it is a national leader in the utilization of science and engineering to decrease the negative impacts of harmful algal blooms on our environment, economy and quality of life,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory. “The best and brightest minds in research and technology development are now able to utilize this incredible facility because Governor DeSantis and our state legislature fully embraced a vision for pushing the frontiers of science forward to benefit society.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2021/08/03/governor-desantis-celebrates-ribbon-cutting-for-florida-red-tide-mitigation-and-technology-development-facility-at-mote-marine-laboratory/

Next, Governor DeSantis announced the early completion of the Old Tamiami Trail Roadbed Removal Project. This project, which finished six months ahead of schedule, is critical to Everglades restoration as it removes nearly six miles of roadbed from the Old Tamiami Trail to allow more water to naturally flow south into Everglades National Park.

This crucial project is a component of the larger Central Everglades Planning Project, which also includes the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project, which will help deliver additional clean water from Lake Okeechobee south to Water Conservation Area 3, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

“Sending more clean water south is essential to furthering Everglades restoration and protecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries from harmful discharges,” Governor DeSantis said. “Since day one, my administration has been focused on expediting key Everglades restoration and water quality projects to protect Florida’s natural resources for future generations, and I’m proud of our record-setting progress.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2021/08/03/governor-ron-desantis-announces-completion-of-old-tamiami-trail-roadbed-removal-project-six-months-ahead-of-schedule/

Watch the event:


Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever has been added to Florida’s List of Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel by Ash Willliams, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer of the Florida State Board of Administration.

The move was in response to a request by Governor DeSantis on July 22 that the SBA place Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever on the list following the company’s announcement that it would remove its products and prohibit the sale of its ice cream in Judea and Samaria. If a company does not cease its boycott of Israel within 90 days of being placed on the list, it becomes subject to an investment prohibition and the State of Florida will not contract with the company or its subsidiaries.

“As a matter of law and principle, the State of Florida will not tolerate discrimination against the State of Israel or the Israeli people,” Governor DeSantis said. “By placing Ben & Jerry’s Fortune 500 parent company Unilever on our List of Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel, Florida is sending a message to corporate America that we will defend our strong relationship with the Jewish State. I will not stand idly by as woke corporate ideologues seek to boycott and divest from our ally, Israel.”

“Israel is a friend of Florida,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “It’s a thriving democracy with incredible people and culture and Ben & Jerry’s decision to very publicly discriminate against Israel was a shortsighted attempt to virtue signal to folks on the radical left.”

Read more:


Governor DeSantis announced $250 million in funding for Florida’s ports to help recover from decreased revenue in 2020, and to invest in infrastructure at Florida’s ports. Florida’s ports generate an economic impact of $117.6 billion and support 900,000 jobs.

“Not only are Florida ports a key economic driver for their surrounding communities, but also for our state as a whole,” Governor DeSantis said. “From the cruise industry, to cargo, to supporting military operations, our ports provide nearly 1 million jobs for Floridians. This $250 million investment in our ports is a commitment to our future economic prosperity for generations to come.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2021/07/29/governor-desantis-announces-250-million-to-support-economic-recovery-for-florida-ports/


Governor DeSantis announced more than $58 million for communities impacted by Hurricane Michael through the Rebuild Florida Hometown Revitalization Program, which supports the revitalization of downtown areas and commercial districts impacted by Hurricane Michael.

In this round of funding, money will go to reconstruct streetscapes and install lighting in downtown areas, restore structures in commercial districts damaged by Hurricane Michael, and provide funding to businesses to help them make repairs and keep their doors open after suffering revenue losses caused by the storm.

“For many of our rural and small communities, the downtown businesses are the core of the community – this funding is for them,” Governor DeSantis said. “Today’s announcement builds on the commitment we made early on to give our full support to this community until it is able to fully recover from Hurricane Michael.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2021/08/04/governor-ron-desantis-announces-more-than-58-million-in-awards-to-communities-impacted-by-hurricane-michael-through-the-rebuild-florida-hometown-revitalization-program/

REMEMBER: @FloridaGOP and retweet and share. The Republican message must be spread around the state and you are integral to making that happen.


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