Meet Casey DeSantis
First Lady Casey DeSantis is the wife of Florida's 46th Governor, Ron DeSantis. The Governor and First Lady are loving parents to daughter, Madison (7 years old), son, Mason (5 years old) and daughter, Mamie (3 years old) -- the first baby born in the Governor's Mansion in more than 50 years.
First Lady Casey DeSantis was raised in Ohio and attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and placed runner-up at the Division I NCAA National Championships as a college equestrian. Additionally, she is a three-time national champion equestrian outside of school. After college, Casey worked for the PGA Tour as a producer and on-air host. She also worked for two local television stations, where she held positions ranging from general assignment reporter, police beat reporter, weekend anchor, and morning anchor. She had the privilege of covering numerous military stories including deployments on the USS John F. Kennedy, and the USS Florida, a cruise missile submarine. For her work in television, Casey received an Emmy Award for on-air talent and two Emmy nominations: one for an investigative series called Real Life CSI and one for a documentary called Champion, The JT Townsend Story.
Declared cancer free by doctors in February 2022, Casey DeSantis has become a champion for others whose lives have been touched by cancer. She has helped to secure record funding for cancer research and care, and launched the groundbreaking Florida Cancer Connect initiative. This first-of-its-kind initiative is a centralized resource for information on cancer treatment, caregiver tools, and stories from brave Floridians who have fought this disease. To expand on this effort, Casey DeSantis recently launched the Cancer Connect Collaborative to convene world-class medical professionals to analyze and rethink Florida's approach to combatting cancer. Thanks to the First Lady's efforts with the Cancer Connect Collaborative, Florida has become the first state in the nation to collect cancer recurrence data for easy and timely research. The Florida Legislature recently renamed the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers Program the "Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program."
One of First Lady Casey DeSantis' signature initiatives is Hope Florida -- A Pathway to Prosperity, inspired by her belief in community-based solutions rather than top-down, big-government programs Hope Florida breaks down traditional silos to maximize resources and uncover opportunities. Implemented through the Florida Department of Children and Families, this initiative empowers 'Hope Navigators' to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity in collaboration with the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities. Hope Florida is the first scalable initiative to activate the state's faith and community-based organizations to meet the immediate needs of citizens who might otherwise struggle to break free of dependence on government. Hope Navigators identify the needs of struggling Floridians and enter that information into the CarePortal network, which allows local nonprofits and faith-based organizations to respond efficiently and directly. Beneficiaries of Hope Florida include single parents, Floridians receiving government assistance, mothers battling substance abuse disorders, seniors striving for a stronger purpose in their communities, children aging out of the foster care system, and foster and adoptive families.
Since its inception, Hope Florida has helped more than 5,300 individuals transition off government assistance and onto a pathway to prosperity.
Another of First Lady Casey DeSantis' signature initiatives is Resiliency Florida, a partnership with professional athletes to reframe and rethink Florida's approach to mental health. These athletes have shared their personal stories of resiliency and hope to empower Florida students to persevere through adversity.
For the Resiliency Florida initiative, First Lady DeSantis worked with the Department of Education to make Florida the first state in the nation to shift from stigma-laden, ideologically driven mental health curriculum to teaching resiliency in schools. Florida's nation-leading approach empowers students with the skills to persevere through life's inevitable changes, including problem solving, critical thinking, coping, compassion, and grit. Resiliency Florida also instills in young people an appreciation for volunteerism, which has been shown to improve emotional well-being.
Another issue close to the First Lady's heart is preventing substance abuse. In December of 2019, Casey DeSantis launched "The Facts. Your Future." campaign in partnership with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Education. This initiative empowers students with the facts about substance abuse and the tools they need to avoid the vicious cycle of addiction. "The Facts. Your Future." has hosted school-based assemblies in nearly every Florida county to reach students to help them understand the real-world impacts of drug use.
On the campaign trail in 2022, the First Lady launched Mamas for DeSantis, a statewide effort to harness the energy and enthusiasm of Florida mothers and grandmothers to re-elect Governor DeSantis by a record margin. The largest coalition of mothers in U.S. history, Mamas for DeSantis enlisted the support of 1.1 million moms and grandmas across the state of Florida, which helped the Governor win 50% of single women and overall women voters by +12 points.
With all her professional achievements, one job is the most meaningful to Casey DeSantis -- being a mom. As parents of three young children, the First Lady and Governor are motivated to fight for a brighter future for our country and for the next generation.