Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

Florida's 'First Lady' will play a major role in the state's relief efforts after Hurricane Ian. Is she Governor Ron DeSantis's secret weapon?
When Florida's governor gave a major press conference on the relief efforts under way as Hurricane Ian ravaged his state, he did something he was not accustomed to doing – he stepped aside.
Mr DeSantis, no stranger to the national stage, announced he was tapping his wife Casey DeSantis to lead the state's efforts to raise money for hurricane relief.
Until now, Mrs DeSantis has kept a relatively low profile since her husband took the top job in the state in 2019.
But the hurricane has thrust her into the spotlight, as millions are without power and many are assumed dead or missing.
"We just couldn't be more proud of what you have done," she said, addressing the Floridians who have been volunteering and donating to help with relief.
Mrs DeSantis will lead the state's disaster fund, which works with public, private and non-governmental donors to provide financial assistance to communities as they respond to and recover from the hurricane.
At Thursday's press conference, she said that in 24 hours, the state had raised over $2m (£1.8m).
"Thank you to the people across the state and the country for stepping up big," she said.
It's a high-profile job as the Sunshine State copes with one of the deadliest hurricanes in its history. Mrs DeSantis has been a well-known face in Florida for years, where she was a popular television news reporter and commentator. She met her husband in 2010 on a golf course, when he was in the US Navy, and the couple now have three children.
Earlier this year, she said she had recovered from a breast cancer diagnosis.
"I'm feeling good, and I'm here, and I'm fit to fight, and that's a lot due to your encouragement," she said.
It is not unusual for politicians running for office to give their spouses a prominent role in an attempt to soften their image or portray themselves as family oriented. Barack Obama did so with Michelle, as did Joe Biden with Jill. It's slightly more unusual for a governor in a moment of state crisis to elevate his spouse to a prominent speaking role during disaster press briefings, as Ron DeSantis has here.
It is a reflection, however, that Hurricane Ian has struck at a moment of high political drama, just weeks before Florida voters will pass judgement on Mr DeSantis' re-election bid – a contest that could also position him as one of the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination in two years.
Mr DeSantis has the nation's attention at the moment, and it is an opportunity for him to introduce himself – and his wife – to potential voters far beyond Florida's borders.
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