Ron DeSantis – early life & baseball career
He was born September 14, 1978, in Jacksonville, Florida, and as mentioned above, he had some political blood in his family. His grandfather worked in local politics, but Ron’s father, Ronald, didn’t follow the same path. Instead, he installed Nielsen rating boxen into televisions while his mother, Karen, was a nurse.
“My father’s from western Pennsylvania, my mother’s from Northeastern Ohio,” DeSantis told Fox News in February. “So that is like steel country. That is like blue collar salt of the earth and, as you know Mark, Florida’s very eclectic. People kind of come from all over, we do have a culture and so I grew up in that culture, but really it was kind of those Rust Belt values that raised me.”
Ron DeSantis attended Dunedin High School in Dunedin, Florida, and school certainly was his thing. But not only that, but the Florida native was a tremendous talent in baseball.
Already at 12 years of age, DeSantis showed he had what it took to maybe even make it to Major League Baseball. His team reached the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. – and Ron found himself famous for the first time.
“We were like local celebrities for a while,” DeSantis told Yale News in 2001. “We were the lead story in the local newscasts and on the front page of the Tampa area papers.”
DeSantis’ baseball career didn’t end in high school. He enrolled at Yale, where he became a four-year starter in the outfield. Eventually, he also became the captain of the Yale Bulldogs baseball team.
As reported by Sports Illustrated, over his four-year college career, Ron DeSantis batted .313 with a .361 On Base Percentage and .817 OPS to go with 11 home runs, 88 RBI, and 27 stolen bases in 152 games.
“The most employable student at Yale University”
In Ron’s senior year, he led the Bulldogs in Batting Average (.336) and had a .370 OBP.
“He’s a great captain,” his teammate Kyle Cousin told the Yale News at the time. “He helps everybody out. He is a true leader on and off the field.”
Ron DeSantis didn’t come from a lot of money. According to his Congressional Candidate biography, he is a “proud Floridian of humble beginnings” who knows the “value of hard work.”
“To put himself through college, he swept floors, collected trash, moved furniture, parked cars, served as an electrician’s assistant, coached baseball clinics, and set up hospitality tents, earning a reputation as the most employable student at Yale University,” it further read.
DeSantis received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in history in 2001, from which he graduated with honors. He went on to attend Harvard Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor in 2005, also graduating with honors.
Many might feel that an education at Yale and Harvard would be good. But in hindsight, Ron DeSantis has other ideas.
In an interview with Fox, aired earlier this year in February, he said teachings at Yale held “hostility to the Almighty and disparagement of America.”
Ron DeSantis – work in Iraq
Moreover, after graduating from “elite” schools, he was concerned that voters would be suspicious.
“I viewed having earned degrees from Yale and Harvard Law School to be political scarlet letters as far as a GOP primary went,” DeSantis wrote in his book The Courage to Be Free. “The voters valued education and probably assumed that I was a smart guy, but those ‘elite’ universities had become so synonymous with leftist ideology and a ruling class mentality that most grassroots conservatives were understandably skeptical of those institutions.”
Ron DeSantis didn’t go straight into working in law, which he would do later in his career. Instead, at Harbard, the then-future Florida Governor was commissioned as a Judge Advocate Officer (JAG) in the US Navy. Among his work was supporting operations at terrorist detention centers at Guantanamo Bay, and later was stationed in Iraq as an adviser to a US Navy Seal commander.
He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal for his service. When leaving his active-duty service, DeSantis continued his career within the judicial system, serving as a federal prosecutor especially targeting – and convicting – child predators. However, he also had his sights on a political career at that time.
DeSantis was elected to Congress in 2012 as the US Representative for Florida’s Sixth District. His popularity grew stronger and stronger. Some of his main points, while he held office, had to do with cutting down taxes and the No Budget/No Pay Act. Moreover, the Florida native refused his Congressional pension and health insurance plan because he felt it wasn’t fair to the public, his official webpage states.
DeSantis supported the military greatly and therefore sponsored legislation to make it easier for the military to prosecute sexual assault.
DeSantis also cofounded the conservative House Freedom Caucus in 2015 as his work in Congress progressed and became a frequent commentator on Fox News.
The former baseball superstar had gotten a national following at that point. Fox News certainly helped DeSantis reach a bigger audience. And as Donald Trump began his Presidential campaign in 2017, Ron was one of the biggest supporters of the real estate mogul.
After getting backing from Donald Trump in 2018, DeSantis announced his candidacy for Governor of Florida, very narrowly winning the election against Democrat Andrew Gillum, 49.6 percent to 49.2 percent. While he had significant support, DeSantis and his supporters were criticized heavily during the campaign, such as racism towards Gillum, who aimed to become the first African American governor in Florida history.
Taking office in 2019, it didn’t take long before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, and with it came DeSantis’ – according to many – somewhat controversial policies.
In later years, DeSantis has been praised by his supporters – and heavily criticized by others – as he’s supported several controversial policies. For example, the Parental Rights in Education act which limited the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. It was nicknamed the “Don’t Say, Gay” act by critics, and when Disney also showed their disappointment with it, DeSantis decided to strip the company of its self-governing status and tax breaks.
Moreover, he also encouraged the Individual Freedom Act – also known as the ‘Stop WOKE Act’, designed to “protect Floridians from discrimination and woke indoctrination.”
While DeSnatis – just like many politicians (both Republican and Democrat, depending on who you talk to) has been controversial, time will tell if he will now become the Republican party’s presidential candidate. But as he is pursuing the presidential office in his professional life, he has also gone through plenty of tough times in his personal life, one of his biggest ones being with his wife Casey DeSantis.
Ron DeSantis family – wife Casey DeSantis
Ron and Casey go back many years and have had their fair share of struggles. Still, they conquered them all, and today they are a happy family of five.
Although Ron is the star in the family, Casey has also had a very successful career and has become influential in politics.
Casey DeSantis grew up in Troy, Ohio, and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in economics. She went on to work in television with broadcast news as a producer – and later even as an on-air host for the PGA Tour, from which many likely remember her.
Casey was a talented on-air presenter and news journalist, even receiving an Emmy for her work. Those from Florida might also recognize her foremost from her NBC-affiliated TV show First Coast Living, where the co-host covered lifestyle topics ranging from healthy living to interviews with NFL football players from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As for many couples, meeting the love of one’s life often is a matter of luck. The same went for Ron and Casey DeSantis.
The two met on a golf course at the University of North Florida for the first time in 2006.
Ron DeSantis, Casey DeSantis
Casey worked as a news anchor for Jacksonville-based WJXT, while DeSanaties just had graduated from Harvard.
“There was no way I was leaving that driving range without asking her on a date”
“I kept looking over my shoulder because I wanted the bucket of balls that somebody had left because my swing was so terrible,” Casey told First Coast News in 2018. “I needed as much practice as I could possibly get. As I’m looking over behind me, Ron is over there. He thinks I’m looking at him. I was really looking at the balls. Long story short we started to talk and that’s how we met.”
In his 2023 memoir, The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival, RonDesantis recalled the moment as his “life’s most fortuitous.”
“There was no way I was leaving that driving range without asking her on a date,” he wrote.
Ron DeSantis and Casey started dating. However, they wouldn’t be together for that long. In 2007, Ron was deployed to Iraq as a lawyer for a year. However, he wouldn’t let the love of his life slip away. One day, the now-Florida Governor called into WJXT to surprise Casey while stationed abroad. While in Iraq, Ron also revealed that he had planned his proposal.
“I told myself as soon as I get back from Iraq, I’m proposing, and I’m going to ask her to marry me, and if you know my wife, that was not a very difficult judgment for me to make,” he said in March.
In 2009, Ron and Casey DeSantis tied the knot at the Grand Floridian’s wedding pavilion at Disney World, overlooking the Cinderella Castle and the Seven Seas Lagoon. In hindsight, it was pretty ironic as he now, years later, took action against Disney World.
Octavio Jones/Getty Images
Ron and Casey welcomed their first child, Madison, in 2016. Two years later in 2018, their son Mason was born, and in 2020, the couple announced the birth of their child, Mamie.
Casey DeSantis – cancer diagnosis & philanthropy work
While they were busy pursuing Ron’s political career to the top, in 2021, Casey announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up.”
A year later, Casey gave the excellent news that she was cancer free.
“There are no words to express how truly blessed, grateful, and humbled I am to hear the words cancer-free,” First Lady of Florida, Casey DeSantis, said. “To those who are in the fight, know there is hope. Have faith and stay strong.
“All of you who have given thoughts and prayers to my family and my wife, thank you. It’s lifted her spirits and made a tremendous difference,” Ron DeSantis added.
Over the years, Casey DeSantis has launched several partnerships and philanthropical causes. She found The Facts. Your Future in 2019, which educates students about substance abuse, and the same year, the mother-of-three got involved with Hope For Healing Florida, which guides residents toward help for mental health and substance abuse.
Ron DeSantis, Casey DeSantis
In February 2021, Casey DeSantis launched Resiliency Florida. It is a partnership with professional sports teams in Florida and athletes to address the stigma surrounding mental health.
Casey DeSantis is “the X-factor” in Ron DeSantis’ political work
Even though Ron DeSantis is the main character in the DeSantis family’s pursuit of reaching the White House, it seems like Casey has plenty of say in different decisions.
According to Scott Parkinson, one of Ron DeSantis’ former chiefs of staff in the US House of Representatives, Casey is, in fact, the “powerhouse” behind Ron since the start of his administration.
A breast-cancer survivor, a former TV reporter, and a mother of three children, Casey DeSantis, is said to have been the powerhouse behind her husband since the beginning of his administration.
“It’s clear she’s the X factor,” he said. “They complete the political element that is Ron DeSantis. Without Casey, he would not be the same person.”
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