First Lady Casey DeSantis is the wife of Florida’s 46th Governor, Ron DeSantis. The Governor and First Lady DeSantis are loving parents to daughter, Madison (5 years old), son, Mason (4 years old) and daughter, Mamie (2 years old) – who is the first baby born in the Governor’s Mansion in more than 50 years.
First Lady DeSantis has become a champion for fighting cancer in the State of Florida, helping to secure $100 million in recurring funding for cancer research and care in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Budget. Declared cancer free by doctors in February of 2022 herself, First Lady DeSantis travels the state visiting with patients to draw attention to the importance of early screening and to provide support and hope to families affected by cancer. In honor of her work devoted to this issue, the Florida Legislature recently renamed the Florida Consortium of National Institute Centers Program the “Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program.”
First Lady DeSantis has also launched four major initiatives since Governor DeSantis was elected.
In September of 2019, First Lady DeSantis spearheaded Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency and Hope. Implemented through the Department of Children and Families, this initiative is uniting communities through ‘Care Navigators’ who guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity by focusing on collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities – breaking down traditional community silos in an effort to maximize resources and uncover opportunities. Beneficiaries of this initiative include, but are not limited to, single parents, Floridians on government assistance, mothers contending with substance abuse disorders, and children aging out of the foster care system.
In March of 2022, First Lady DeSantis announced that the Hope Florida initiative hit the major milestone of providing family-centered assistance to more than 25,000 Floridians to help them achieve economic self-sufficiency. Any Floridian can learn more about connecting with a Pathway to Prosperity ‘Care Navigator’ by visiting HopeFlorida.com or by calling 850-300-HOPE.
In February of 2021, First Lady DeSantis launched her Resiliency Florida initiative – a partnership with professional sports teams and athletes – including Tom Brady, David Beckham, Peyton Manning, Lou Holtz, Tony Dungy, Urban Meyer, Crystal Thomas, Ali Marpet, Bryant McFadden, Mark Richt, Twan Russell, Corey Simon, Tra Thomas, Jonathan Vilma, Charlie Ward, Tyler Johnson, Joey Logano, Brandon Lowe, and Chris Mueller – to address the stigma surrounding mental health. These teams and athletes are lending their voices and personal stories of resilience and hope to empower Florida students to persevere through adversity.
As a part of this initiative, First Lady DeSantis is working with Volunteer Florida and the Florida Department of Education on the Hope Ambassadors program – a network of over 100 middle and high school clubs encouraging a campus culture of kindness and empathy through peer-to-peer mentoring and volunteerism.
Additionally, to support the Resiliency Florida initiative, First Lady DeSantis worked with the Department of Education to develop Character Education Standards to be taught in Florida’s K-12 schools. Passed unanimously by the State Board of Education in July of 2021, these are Florida’s first standards for Character Education, setting clear expectations for students and teachers and providing opportunities for students to learn how character contributes to the overall civic health of a society and understand the importance of resiliency, responsibility, and respect.
In December of 2019, First Lady DeSantis launched Florida’s “The Facts. Your Future.” campaign – a public affairs partnership between the Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Education. This initiative empowers students with the facts surrounding substance abuse and how it negatively impacts their lives. In March of 2022, First Lady DeSantis announced a major new phase of the initiative – the launch of a digital media campaign to send information to students through social media platforms, as well as a standalone website that contains “The Facts. Your Future.” content: TheFactsYourFuture.org.
First Lady DeSantis’ first major announcement was the Hope for Healing Florida initiative in May of 2019, which brought together stakeholders statewide to discuss new community-level solutions to address mental illness and substance abuse with emphasis on resources for children, veterans and first responders. The Hope for Healing website helps navigate the many ways Floridians can access available resources.
First Lady DeSantis 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, First Lady DeSantis 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, First Lady DeSantis 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.