New Florida gov to 'hold government officials accountable'

He laid out his plan for protecting our water quality and environment in Stuart. Earlier in the day he made stops in Bonita Springs and Sarasota

With the first of his three picks for the Florida Supreme Court, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday chose a female Cuban-American appellate judge to become the state's newest justice. "It is the role of judges to apply, not to alter, the work of the peoples' representatives", Lagoa said at a Miami news conference with DeSantis. "And it is the role of judges to interpret our Constitution and statutes as they are written", she said. "Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws".

He was joined by Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez and First Lady Casey DeSantis at Florida Gulf Coast University's Vester Marine and Environmental Research Field Station in Bonita Springs to make the policy announcement.

"Obviously, this is focused on what we're going to do as a state", said DeSantis.

DeSantis' replacements for the three justices who were required to retire this week - R. Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince - will reshape a court that for years has been a thorn in the side to the Republican-dominated Legislature and former Gov. Rick Scott. Though her side won the case, in an event that captured world attention, President Bill Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno sent armed U.S. agents into the home, seizing the boy and ignoring the rule of law.

"Equality Florida is deeply disappointed to see that LGBTQ employees and contractors have been left out of the Governor's executive order", said Joe Saunders, Senior Political Director for Equality Florida.

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The Sierra Club Florida says it is "pleased" that DeSantis chose to make the state's water problems an immediate and top priority of his administration. "So while this is a chance to change traditional representation in Florida's Supreme Court, it's also a major ideological shift". I share the governor's concern that in recent years the power of the judicial branch has extended beyond its limited constitutional responsibility, in many cases eroding the authority of the legislative branch. That concept was certainly at the heart of comments we heard from the governor yesterday, and echoed again this morning with the appointment of Justice Lagoa. The 17-story tower, built in 1925 as a newspaper headquarters, is a symbol of hope, freedom and democracy - like New York's Ellis Island for generations of European immigrants - for many in the Cuban American community. "It is my pleasure and my privilege to appoint Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court with full confidence she will serve our state with the utmost integrity".

Lagoa attended Florida International University and Columbia University law school.

The order, dubbed "Achieving More Now for Florida's Environment", promises participation in the Florida Wildlife Commission's Harmful Algae Bloom Task Force to expedite the study of red tide's causes and impacts on the environment and human health, and instructs the South Florida Water Management District to begin the next phase of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve the project in line with the state's schedule.

Stemberger praised Lagoa for her membership in the Federalist Society. Cantero and current Justice Jorge Labarga are Cuban-Americans.

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