PBA responds to "Not Our Governor" billboards with message of its own

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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
February 19, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Governor Ron DeSantis has been in office just over a month and is getting generally high marks from both political insiders and the general public.

However, a civil rights group has been protesting the governor since the day he was sworn in, which has prompted a police union to stick up for the governor.

Two billboards critical of Ron DeSantis, sponsored by the Dream Defenders, popped up in the state capital shortly after he took office. Both depict the governor as a puppet of corporations.

We emailed the Dream Defenders with questions about the billboards, but they didn’t respond. They did have plenty to say, though, when they watched the inauguration.

“Ron DeSantis has made it very clear that he is deeply in bed with some of the corporations that are harming people in this state," said Rachael Gilmer, a member of the Dream Defenders.

The anti-DeSantis billboards didn’t sit well with Florida's Police Benevolent Association.

“Governor DeSantis has come in and he’s been a really good governor across the board for everyone," said Matt Puckett with the Florida PBA. "We saw the billboard that said he’s not our governor, and well, he’s everybody’s governor, and we wanted to make that known.”

During the 2018 election, the Dream Defenders pushed candidates to sign what they called freedom papers, which also irked the law enforcement group.

“Law enforcement shouldn’t exist. Prisons shouldn’t exist," said Puckett. "So, we took offense to that."

We sent pictures of both billboards to the Governor’s Press Office. Their response: "The governor will always come down on the side of law enforcement."

We caught up with Lt. Governor Jeannette Nunez, who said she hadn’t seen the Dream Defenders' billboards.

“You know, I think Ron DeSantis has shown he’s the governor for all Floridians and if people want to take out ads, that’s their prerogative, but we’re not worried about nonsense like that," said Nunez. "We’re worried about leading the state of Florida in the right direction, which is what we are doing."

Until the middle of March, the governor is likely to see the billboard on his ride home each night.

The Dream Defenders endorsed Andrew Gillum, who fell about 33,000 votes shy of winning against now Governor DeSantis.

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