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Op-Ed: Change the Resign-to-Run Rules for Ron – Is That Move Just Politics as Usual?

“Both House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) agreed Tuesday that it would be a “good idea” to change a law so that Ron DeSantis would not have to resign as govenor if he wound up becoming the GOP presidential nominee.” File photo: Hunter Crenian, Shutter Stock, licensed.

PORTSMOUTH, OH – Let me say upfront that I am not a politician, a legal analyst, nor an expert on governmental legislation. However, I am confused. Here are my questions: Is it ethical, lawful, and/or moral for politicians to make or change laws to suit their own agendas? Is it wise to set the precedent of changing legislation in your city, county, state or country to get your own way?  

Title IX, Chapter 99, Section 99.012 of the Florida Statutes states

(3)(a) No officer may qualify as a candidate for another state, district, county, or municipal public office if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other without resigning from the office he or she presently holds. 

The following excerpts are from Politico:  

“Florida’s top Republican leaders say they are willing to change state law to smooth the way for Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president in 2024.” 

So, when you want your own candidate to run for another office, it’s okay to change the state law to get what you want. Call me naïve. Although I ceased being an idealist, sometimes it sneaks back in. I must advise my realist part to have another chat with my idealist part.

“Both House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), both of whom were sworn into their new posts on Tuesday, agreed it would be a “good idea” to make it clear that DeSantis would not have to resign if he wound up becoming the GOP nominee.” 

So, politicians will make a way when they need a way to advance their own agenda. Hmmm. Sounds familiar. I guess that’s how the game is played.  

“Florida law requires anyone running for a new office to put in an irrevocable letter of resignation ahead of qualifying if the terms of the two offices overlap. The law was changed in 2008 to open the door for then-Gov. Charlie Crist to seek the vice presidency, but legislators reversed course four years ago and put back in a place a requirement that someone seeking federal office would have to resign ahead of the actual election.” 

So, you change it – then put it back like it was to suit what you want to do when you want to do it. Yes, sounds like politicking.

“Renner said that proved state legislators had been “inconsistent” about the state’s resign-to-run law, and that was one reason he was open to changing it again.” 

So, it suits the Republicans to change it again.  

Side bar: I hold the utmost respect for Gov. Ron DeSantis. And I voted a straight Republican ballot in the Midterm. Therefore, my column is in no way meant to disparage him or any elected official.  

Will Gov. DeSantis agree to change the Resign-to-Run law? 

If DeSantis were to resign the governorship and run for the 2024 Presidential Election, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez would become the first woman governor of Florida. 

Resign-to-run laws require officeholders to resign from their current office in order to run for another. Nationwide, five states have resign-to-run laws: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas. 

Obviously, there are pros and cons on each side of the debate. The law prevents opportunist job-hoppers, but also quenches political moves that may benefit the state or country. What is best for “We the People?” I don’t know the answer, but my beef is with the changing of laws to suit whatever party is in power. Again, call me naive.

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