Ron DeSantis installs rightwing figures on board of former Disney district

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is continuing to wage his culture war, POLITICO reported. This week he wrested control of a Walt Disney Company-controlled county district. 

And his choices for who will help control Disney offered an insight into the type of people he values should he run for president in 2024, which he is expected to do. 

DeSantis took control of the Reedy Creek improvement district on Monday, which is the previously independent district around the Walt Disney World Resort in the southeast of Orlando. Now the resort has incurred DeSantis’ wrath, hastily having its powers stripped by the Republican legislature. 

DeSantis swiftly removed Reedy Creek’s existing Disney-appointed board. The Governor immediately installed five people on the district’s board. All political donors, loyalists, and people who stand for DeSantis’ beliefs. 

Experts say it is important to note that the bulk of the appointees are extreme, and are political donors. 

Now sitting on Disney’s board is the founder of a right-wing parent group, a Christian nationalist, and a deep-pocketed Republican party donor.

It continues the Florida governor’s retaliation against Disney after the company opposed DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ+ policies last year, The Guardian reported.

On the board is Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, a rightwing group that has been involved in book-banning efforts across the US; Ron Peri, a pastor who believes American military failures are down to the country not being Christian enough; and Martin Garcia, a Florida lawyer who donated $50,000 to DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign.

Ziegler supports his rallying cry against LGBTQ+ people and issues. She founded the group Moms for Liberty, an anti-LGBTQ group. She even helped craft the extremely contentious Parents Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed the “don’t say gay” law. 

Peri is the founder of the Gathering Forum, an online Christian ministry where he hosts weekly video sermons that also rally against school curricula as Ziegler’s group does. Peri wants the term ‘Christian Nationalism’ to be further accepted. 

Garcia is committed to Republican politics. A Tampa lawyer and prolific Republican party donor, Garcia’s Pinehill Capital Partners company donated $50,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis Pac during the governor’s reelection campaign. Pinehill, which Garcia chairs, also gave $25,000 to Conservatives for Principled Leadership, making it one of DeSantis’ biggest donors in 2022.

The board is rounded out by Mike Sasso and Brian Aungst, a pair of Florida lawyers who appear to have become favorites of DeSantis in the past two years.

Now the question is the impact of the new board. 

Experts say that there is now a five-member board of supervisors that consists principally of cultural warrior types and Christian nationalist types. 

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