Casey DeSantis is a wife, mother of three (Madison, 4 years, Mason, 3 years, Mamie, 1 year), Emmy-award winner, champion equestrian, and serves as the First Lady of Florida alongside her husband, Governor Ron DeSantis.
Casey attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and was a member of the International Economics Honors Society. There, she competed on the equestrian team and placed runner-up at the Division I NCAA National Championships. Additionally, she is a three-time national champion equestrian outside of school. Following her graduation from college, Casey worked for the PGA Tour as a producer and on-air host. Additionally, she worked for two Florida television stations in Jacksonville, 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, the last conventionally-powered aircraft carrier, 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.
While serving as Florida’s First Lady, First Lady DeSantis has championed four major initiatives.
Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency and Hope
First Lady DeSantis launched the “Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency, and Hope” initiative through the Department of Children and Families. In seeking to maximize resources beyond government, this initiative focuses on community collaboration between private sector businesses, the faith community, and non-profits to coordinate opportunities through a “Care Navigator” who helps guide individuals on a path to economic self-sufficiency. Some of the Floridians who benefit from this initiative include, but are not limited to, single parents, children aging out of the foster care system, mothers suffering from substance abuse, and Floridians on government assistance.
The Facts. Your Future.
Most recently, First Lady DeSantis launched and spearheaded the “The Facts. Your Future.” initiative, which is a major investment by the state to educate students about the facts and ramifications of drug use. It is a partnership with the Department of Health and the Department of Education. “The Facts. Your Future.” has two primary components. The first component is a statewide public messaging campaign created by the same company that produced the Tobacco-Free Florida Ads. Second, is an assembly-style curriculum for school districts to utilize across the state. The goal is to empower students to make the right decisions by providing context and perspective from participants whose lives have been negatively impacted by drugs, such as a mother who lost a child to drug use, a recovering addict, a peer who has suffered from a friend’s decision, a physician who can share the clinical ramifications, and law enforcement.
In partnership with several professional sports teams and athletes, First Lady DeSantis launched the “Resiliency Florida” initiative to help address the stigma surrounding mental health by changing the way mental health is addressed. Instead of students feeling like victims, Resiliency Florida empowers students to persevere through life’s difficulties knowing that no one is immune from hardship. To accomplish this, First Lady DeSantis partnered with nearly every major sports team in Florida, as well as professional athletes, to share their personal stories of perseverance, resilience, and success. Some of the major athletes and sports figures partnering with “Resiliency Florida” include Tom Brady, David Beckham, Peyton Manning, Crystal Thomas, Jonathan Vilma, Joey Logano, Bryant McFadden, Tony Dungy, Lou Holtz, Urban Meyer and many more.
Hope for Healing
One of her first initiatives as First Lady was the “Hope for Healing” campaign. “Hope for Healing” aims to provide a mechanism for multi-agency collaboration among state agencies and communities to maximize resources and create accountability. It also helps simplify the ways for those facing crises to receive help, especially as it pertains to mental health and substance abuse. Its general philosophy of working beyond government to find solutions has resulted in the creation of many of the First Lady’s initiatives.