Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Cliff Stearns
Personal details
Born Ronald Dion DeSantis
(1978-09-14) September 14, 1978
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Yale University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 2004–2010 (Active)
2010–present (Reserve)
Rank Lieutenant Commander
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star
Iraq Campaign Medal

Ronald Dion "Ron" DeSantis (born September 14, 1978) is an American politician who has been the United States Representative for Florida's 6th congressional district since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he ran in Florida's 2016 U.S. Senate election; however, DeSantis withdrew from the race following incumbent Senator Marco Rubio's announcement that he would seek reelection to the Senate, reversing his initial pledge not to run, on June 22, 2016.[1][2] After Rubio's decision to re-enter the U.S. Senate race, DeSantis opted to run for re-election to his U.S. House seat in Florida's 6th congressional district.[3]

Early life and education

Ron DeSantis was born in 1978 in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1991 he was a member of the Little League team from Dunedin National that made it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[4][5]

He graduated from Dunedin High School in Dunedin in 1997. He pursued his higher education at Yale University, where he was captain of the varsity baseball team in his senior year. He was also a member of the Phi chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Yale University, the same fraternity as five former U.S. Presidents including George W. Bush. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in History in 2001. He earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School cum laude in 2005.[6]

Military service

DeSantis was sworn into the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Navy at the U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Dallas, Texas, in 2004 while still a student at Harvard Law School, completing U.S. Naval Justice School in 2005. Later that year, he received orders from Trial Service Office Command South East at the Naval Station Mayport, Florida, as a military prosecutor. In 2006, he was promoted to Lieutenant (O-3). He worked for the Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Commander (JTF-GTMO), working directly with detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Joint Detention Facility.[7]

In 2007, DeSantis reported to the Naval Special Warfare Command Group in Coronado, California, where he was assigned to SEAL Team One and deployed to Iraq[8] with the troop surge as the Legal Advisor to the SEAL Commander, Special Operations Task Force-West in Fallujah.

He returned to CONUS in April 2008, at which time he was reassigned to the Naval Region Legal Service. He was appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to serve as a federal prosecutor[8] at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida.

DeSantis was assigned as a Trial Defense Counsel until his honorable discharge from active duty in February 2010. He concurrently accepted a Reserve commission as a Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General Corps, in the US Navy Reserve.[9] He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.[10]

Writing and teaching

He authored a book entitled Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama, which was published in 2011.[9] He has taught U.S. Military Law at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville.[11] His writing has appeared in National Review, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, Human Events, and American Thinker.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives

2012 election

Redistricting left Florida's 6th congressional district without an incumbent, and DeSantis chose to run for the open seat. He won the six-candidate Republican primary with 39% of the vote, with the runner-up, State Representative Fred Costello, obtaining 23%.[12] In the November general election, DeSantis defeated Democrat Heather Beaven by 57%-43%, with majorities in all four counties.[13]

Committee assignments

Prior to the 114th United States Congress, DeSantis was named the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security.[14]


On January 29, 2014, DeSantis introduced into the House the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014 (H.R. 3973; 113th Congress), a bill that would direct the United States Department of Justice to report to the United States Congress whenever any federal agency refrains from enforcing laws or regulations for any reason.[15][16] In the report, the government would have to explain why it had decided not to enforce that law.[17] DeSantis spoke in favor of the bill, arguing that "President Obama has not only failed to uphold several of our nation's laws, he has vowed to continue to do so in order to enact his unpopular agenda... The American people deserve to know exactly which laws the Obama administration is refusing to enforce and why."[17]

In 2013, DeSantis signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.[18]

In 2013, DeSantis spoke at a Ripon Society forum and addressed the IRS targeting controversy and tax reform. DeSantis echoed his colleagues on understanding the main part of government, saying: "Part of having a constitutional government is that you have an accountable government." He went on to say that he "think(s) we make a huge mistake if we try to generate political outcomes, thinking that it will help us politically or that we're trying to bring somebody down. I think it’s necessary if we are just trying to find the truth and hold individuals accountable. I think we need to see more of that in this government."[19]

2016 U.S. Senate candidacy

On May 6, 2015, DeSantis announced that he was running for the United States Senate seat held by Marco Rubio, who initially did not file to run for re-election due to his bid for the U.S. presidency.[20] DeSantis was endorsed by the fiscally conservative Club for Growth.[21] DeSantis withdrew from the race following incumbent Senator Marco Rubio's announcement that he would seek reelection to the Senate, reversing his initial pledge not to run, on June 22, 2016.[1][2] After dropping his U.S. Senate bid, DeSantis filed to run for re-election to his U.S. House seat.

Policy positions

National security

DeSantis believes that "Providing security against foreign danger is the preeminent responsibility of the federal government."[22] DeSantis's 2016 U.S. Senate bid was endorsed by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, who cited DeSantis's support of a strong national defense, opposition to the Iran nuclear framework, defense of Israel, and criticism of the Obama administration's Cuba policy as reasons for the endorsement.[23]


DeSantis opposed the Iran nuclear deal framework, calling it "a bad deal that will significantly degrade our national security."[24] DeSantis said "the Iran deal gives Ayatollah Khamenei exactly what he wants: billions of dollars in sanctions relief, validation of the Iranian nuclear program, and the ability to stymie inspections."[25]

During a line of questioning, DeSantis told Secretary of State John Kerry that the executive branch had a legal obligation to provide Congress with the details behind any side deals made between world leaders and Iran.[26] DeSantis has criticized President Barack Obama for what he said was better treatment of Cuba's Raul Castro and Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei than of Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu.[27]


In 2015, DeSantis introduced the Guantanamo Bay Recidivism Prevention Act, which would cut off foreign aid to countries that receive detainees if they show back up on the terrorism recidivism list.[28] DeSantis opposed President Obama's plan to shut down the terrorist holding facility at the Guantanamo Bay military base, saying "Bringing hardened terrorists to the U.S. homeland harms our national security."[29]

Regarding the formal restart of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, DeSantis said "Raising the Cuban flag in the United States is a slap in the face to those who have experienced the brutality of the Castro regime."[30]


In 2013, DeSantis introduced the Palestinian Accountability Act, which would halt U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it formally recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and cuts off all ties with the terror group Hamas.[31]

In 2016, DeSantis co-introduced the Non-Discrimination of Israel in Labeling Act, which will defend the right of Israeli producers to label products manufactured in the West Bank as “Israel,” “Made in Israel,” or “Product of Israel.”[32] DeSantis believes that the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.[33]

Islamic terrorism

After the November 2015 Paris attacks, DeSantis "called for urgent recognition that Islamic extremism is to blame for the Paris attacks and should be seen as an enemy for America." DeSantis has said "The enemy is an ideology rooted in militant Islam" and has said that ISIS must be stopped and its members kept away from America.[34] In December 2015, DeSantis introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act, which would prevent refugees from countries with terrorist-controlled areas from entering into the United States.

The bill includes an exception for refugees who are a member of a group that is a victim of genocide.[35] Regarding U.S. policy toward refugees, DeSantis said "the prudent policy is to err on the side of protecting the American people."[36]

Veterans affairs

DeSantis has sharply criticized the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for the Veterans Health Administration scandal of 2014, in which veteran deaths were linked to fatal wait times. He co-sponsored the VA Accountability Act, which aims to increase accountability by providing for the removal or demotion of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs based on performance or misconduct.[37][38] He is a member of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus.[39]


DeSantis is opposed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which he believes should be replaced with policies designed to strengthen Medicare, facilitate consumer choice, and reduce costs.[40] His own health care reform proposals include creating a refundable universal tax credit for health insurance purchases, using high risk pools to provide coverage options for people with preexisting conditions, allowing individuals to choose health insurance plans without government involvement, prohibiting the Internal Revenue Service from having involvement in health care decisions, barring the use of taxpayer funds to bail out insurance companies, and block granting Medicaid to the states.[41]

DeSantis co-sponsored a bill to end congressional exemptions from Obamacare, treating members of Congress and their staffers the same as every other American under the law.[42] DeSantis introduced a proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit members of Congress from exempting themselves from laws that apply to the rest of the country.[43][44]


DeSantis believes the U.S. should enforce existing immigration laws and secure the border. He supports a visa tracking system to prevent individuals from illegally overstaying visas. He opposes executive amnesty and the release of convicted criminals who are in the U.S. illegally.[45][46] DeSantis opposes sanctuary cities.[47] He is a co-sponsor of the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015, also known as Kate's Law, which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase penalties applicable to aliens who unlawfully reenter the United States after being removed.[48]

Size and scope of government

DeSantis opted not to receive his congressional pension, and he filed a measure that would eliminate pensions for members of Congress.[49] After introducing the End Pensions in Congress Act, DeSantis said "The Founding Fathers envisioned elected officials as part of a servant class, yet Washington has evolved into a ruling class culture."[50] DeSantis believes term limits should exist for members of Congress.[51]

He sponsored the Faithful Execution of the Law Act of 2014, which would direct the United States Department of Justice to report to the United States Congress whenever any federal agency refrains from enforcing laws or regulations for any reason. Speaking about the bill, DeSantis said "You can not have rule of law when people don’t know what the law is."[52] The bill passed the U.S. House in March 2014.[53]

Economic issues

DeSantis has said that the debate in Washington, D.C. over how to reduce the deficit should shift emphasis from tax increases to curtailing spending and triggering economic growth.[54] DeSantis supports a “no budget no pay” policy for Congress to encourage the passage of a budget.[55] He believes the Federal Reserve System should be audited.[49]

In the wake of the IRS targeting controversy, DeSantis called for the resignation of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen for having "failed the American people by frustrating Congress’s attempts to ascertain the truth."[56][57] He co-sponsored a bill to impeach Koskinen for violating the public's trust.[58] In 2015, DeSantis was named "Taxpayer Superhero" by Citizens Against Government Waste.[59]

DeSantis supported the REINS Act, which would require that regulations that have a significant economic impact be subject to a vote of Congress prior to taking effect.[60]

DeSantis introduced the Let Seniors Work Act, which would repeal the Retirement Earnings Test and stop the 12.4% payroll tax for working seniors, and he co-sponsored a measure to eliminate taxes on Social Security benefits.[61]

DeSantis sponsored the Transportation Empowerment Act, which would transfer much of the responsibility for transportation projects to the individual states. The bill would reduce the gas tax.[62][63] DeSantis has opposed taxes on the internet, including legislation that would require online retailers to pay state sales tax.[64]

Social issues

DeSantis is pro-life.[65] He opposes taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.[66][67]

Citing the importance of religious freedom, DeSantis has said the government should protect companies whose owners want to exclude birth control from their employees' health insurance coverage, and refrain from applying anti-discrimination laws to individuals or entities who discriminate against gay people.[68] DeSantis agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., saying "This case does not concern the availability or legality of contraceptives, and individuals can obtain and use these as they see fit. The question is simply whether the government can force the owners of Hobby Lobby to pay for abortifacients in violation of their faith."[69]

Second Amendment

DeSantis opposes gun control. He received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.[70]


DeSantis opposes federal education programs such as No Child Left Behind Act and Race to the Top, saying that education policy should be made at the local level.[49]

DeSantis introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act, which would allow states to create their own accreditation systems in an effort to open up an alternative market for education that gives students access to federal loan money to put towards non-traditional educational opportunities, such as online learning courses, vocational schools, and apprenticeships in skilled trades.[71]

Personal life

In 2010, DeSantis married Casey Black, a local Emmy-winning television host. They previously lived in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.[27] However, DeSantis and his wife moved to Palm Coast, Florida in July, 2016 after redistricting moved their home in Ponte Vedra Beach into the 4th congressional district.[72][73]


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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cliff Stearns
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 6th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Delaney
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Tammy Duckworth
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