Ronald Dion DeSantis is an American politician who has served as the 46th governor of Florida since 2019. Widely considered one of the most prominent members of the Republican Party, DeSantis represented Florida's 6th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018.
Born in Jacksonville, DeSantis spent most of his childhood in Dunedin, Florida. He graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. DeSantis joined the United States Navy in 2004 and was promoted to lieutenant before serving as an advisor to SEAL Team One; he was deployed to Iraq in 2007. When he returned to the U.S. a year later, the U.S. Department of Justice appointed DeSantis to serve as a Special Assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Florida, a position he held until his honorable discharge in 2010.
DeSantis was first elected to Congress in 2012, defeating his Democratic opponent Heather Beaven. During his tenure he became a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and was an ally of President Donald Trump. DeSantis frequently criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He briefly ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, but withdrew when incumbent senator Marco Rubio sought reelection. During his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, DeSantis emphasized his support of Trump. He won the Republican nomination in August, and chose state representative Jeanette Nuñez as his running mate. The close results of the general election between DeSantis and the Democratic nominee, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, triggered a machine recount. DeSantis was certified the winner with a 0.4% margin of victory. DeSantis is running for reelection in the 2022 Florida gubernatorial election against the Democratic nominee, Charlie Crist.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida, DeSantis resisted imposing restrictions including face mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and vaccination requirements. In May 2021, he signed into law a bill that prohibited businesses, schools, cruise ships, and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination. In March 2022, DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act, called the "Don't Say Gay" law by its opponents, which prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in public school classrooms from kindergarten to grade three.