ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Many could argue that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis trusts two women in his life more than anyone. One is his wife of eleven years, Casey. The other is the first Latina to serve as lieutenant governor: Jeanette Núñez.
Núñez has been a Floridian all her life. Born in 1972 in a Cuban-American family in Miami, she showed an interest in politics from an early age. She graduated from Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in political sciences and international relationships in 1994, with a Master of Public Administration in FIU four years later. As soon as she finished her undergraduate studies, she went to work as an aide to Florida State Senator Alex Díaz de la Portilla.
In 2004 she started getting involved in healthcare when she was named State Director for Government Relations for Jackson Health System, becoming Vice President of Government Affairs in 2006. There, she oversaw the advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. She also served as the Vice President of External Affairs at Kendall Regional Medical Center and Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, besides becoming an adjunct professor and advisor at her alma mater.
Núñez fully went into politics in 2010, when she ran representing the 112th district in 2010, seeking to replace David Rivera. After securing the Republican nomination, she faced both a Democratic opponent (Doral City councilwoman Sandra Ruiz) and an independent one (Robert Van Name). She campaigned mostly on job creation and won with 56% of the votes. When the districts were redrawn in 2012, she sought and won reelection.
In 2018, then-congressman Ron DeSantis chose Núñez to be his running mate in the governor’s election to face Andrew Gillum and Chris King. The election they won was one of the closest in Florida history.
During her time in legislation, Núñez has supported bills helping immigrants, a stance she continues to hold as lieutenant governor. She has in particular held several roundtables and events to help Venezuelan exiles. She has also worked against human trafficking.