DeSantis reopening plan

How would you grade our governor?

“I just read your article on Gov. DeSantis and can’t help but question your judgment. The state prevented the public from knowing the accurate number of Corona virus deaths. This, in and of itself, should make him ineligible for holding office.” LS

Thanks, LS. In my column, I gave him a B+/A- but suggested our governor be more candid and accurate in his conversations with Floridians.

One area of concern is indeed your point that the state does not want local medical examiners to publish their version of COVID-19 deaths, which have been different from the State of Florida official estimates.

Reader MK noted:

“I noticed your little bio on our mini-me trumpee Governor. I was glad to see you pointed out some positives and some negatives...good for you, I like fair and balanced HOWEVER…..He has not been such a great leader as we see with this COVID19.”


LS and MK, here’s what I wish our governor would say:

“My fellow Floridians, when we moved to close businesses and quarantine, we did so out of a concern for human life. Science now tells us the mass closing of businesses was not necessary.

Almost all of the benefits of slowing the coronavirus can be achieved if we all will be disciplined about social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands. That’s why I am opening Florida for business.

To make this work, each of us must be part of the solution. I’ve heard some say they won’t social distance. They won’t wear a mask. They want their freedom.

Many of those same people have also said that they won’t wear a mask because the people who are likely to die are old and in a nursing home anyway.

My fellow Floridians, I believe in the sanctity of life, whether it is an unborn child or someone over 90 in a nursing home. Each of us is obligated to do whatever it takes to protect the life of a fellow Floridian. If you love and respect life, wear a mask and socially separate.

We cannot get back to business as usual if we don’t have a low number of new cases. People will be afraid and will not shop at our local business.

Florida is dependent on tourists. Folks will not come back for snowbird season if our new cases are too high. Our guests to places like Walt Disney World will not come back if our cases are too high.

If you want to help save your job, the job of your friends and neighbors, please wear a mask, use physical distancing and wash your hands.

Germany is four times the size of Florida, but only has a few hundred cases a day and less than 20 deaths a day — compared to our few thousand cases a day and 50 deaths a day. We can do as well as Germany if each of us does our part.”

Then with a wink and a smile, he would look directly into the camera and say, “Hey kids, come on. We know if we don’t behave, we will be sent to our rooms – again. And nobody wants that.”


LS and MK, I understand your point. Gov. DeSantis has not sounded like my wished-for speech above. Instead, Gov. DeSantis said not to worry about cases spiking, suggesting it is just migrant workers on farms.

Then he said not to worry cases are spiking, that it was just that we are doing more testing. Then our governor said, yes, actual cases are spiking not related to testing — but don’t worry, it is mostly young people testing positive.

The governor is the ringleader in Florida of the battle cry, “I want my freedom – don’t wear a mask, don’t be physically distant.”

He’s capped off the freedom movement by asking the Republican party to come to Jacksonville in August for its convention, where they won’t be physically distancing or wearing masks.

I tend to be an easier grader on public servants because I understand it is a hard job. Readers, what grade would you give to Gov. DeSantis today — and why?

Share your thoughts.

David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Winter Haven Sun, Four Corners News-Sun and Polk News-Sun in Polk County, as well as newspapers in Highlands, Lake and Sumter counties. He can be reached at