Fort Lauderdale residents criticize DeSantis for not surveying flood damage himself

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The 2024 presidential election is drawing closer and closer, and it appears Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will throw his hat into the ring.

Some wonder if that is taking his focus away from Florida’s needs, especially in times of emergency.

He has yet to visit the water-logged cities of South Florida since they were hit by historic flooding two weeks ago, though he has sent help.

“I don’t think they realize how bad it is,” said homeowner Cheryl Lovejoy. “Our whole house is devastated. I’ve got elderly and sick people still in the home. I’m waiting on insurance to kick in. Still no funds yet. I haven’t heard from anybody.”

Residents like Lovejoy, in Fort Lauderdale’s Edgewood neighborhood, still don’t know where to start.

She cares for her disabled sister, her aging mother and a friend.

Lovejoy thinks more people need to see the situation many are living in, including DeSantis.

“He’s the governor. This is our home,” she said. “This is what he governs. He should be interested and on point with what’s going on here.”

State officials insist the governor is on it, announcing last weekend that he plans to request a disaster declaration, paving the way for federal help.

Critics are attacking DeSantis though for crisscrossing the country on a book tour and then beginning an international trip, stopping this week in Japan, where he met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and addressed his poll numbers.

“I’m not a candidate, so we’ll see if and when that changes,” DeSantis said.

Florida State Sen. Shevrin Jones tweeted about DeSantis’ trip and his lack of a visit to Broward County.

Former Florida Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried said the declaration is just for his presidential campaign.

Even Donald Trump Jr. brought it up, writing that Fort Lauderdale is under water and DeSantis is campaigning in Ohio.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis has stayed above all the noise, saying he’s focused on the work right now and happy to see some state and federal progress is being made.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.