Florida Gov. DeSantis's family roots run deep in Valley
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will be coming to the Valley to show his support for J.D. Vance, the Ohio GOP Senate candidate during a rally in Liberty, but the Florida Governor won't need any time to get acquainted with our community, as his family tree has deep roots here.
DeSantis, a potential 2024 Republican Presidential candidate, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but his mother - Karen DeSantis - grew up in Poland and his maternal grandparents came to the Valley in the 1930s.
DeSantis's mother attended Youngstown State University in the 1970s where she met fellow student and eventual husband Ron DeSantis, who was from Aliquippa, Pa.
The DeSantis's left the Mahoning Valley and moved to Florida in the 1970s, and their son Ron was born in Jacksonville in 1978.
DeSantis's maternal grandfather, Philip E. Rogers, was born in Edinburgh, Pa. in 1923. He moved to Lowellville in 1936, graduated in 1942 from Lowellville High School, married Carolyn Delisio in 1946, and they moved to Poland in 1954.
He graduated from Youngstown University with a degree in business administration, and a master's degree in public administration. The Rogers children are Karen (DeSantis), Sister Regina Rogers, and Rev. Philip Rogers.
Rogers was the Director of the Board of Elections in Mahoning County from 1960 through 1968, and a member of the board from 1968 until 1972. He became a special assistant to the Ohio Secretary of State during Gov. James A. Rhodes's administration in 1968 and 1969.
According to his obituary published in The Vindicator, Rogers worked in the political science department at YSU, was also the assistant to the Vice President for financial affairs from 1969 through 1974 and director of classified personnel before retiring in 1982.
A 40-year member of the Mahoning County Republican Party committee, and was the GOP chairman from 1968 to 1971.
Rogers died in December of 1997, but the Florida Governor has family still living in the Valley, including his aunt Sister Regina Rogers, a Councilor at the Ursuline Sisters house in Youngstown, and his uncle Philip Rogers, a priest at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers and previously with St. Charles Parish in Boardman.
Dr. Bill Binning, former chairman of the political science department at YSU and former Mahoning County Republican Party chairman told 21 News that Philip Rogers was the county GOP chairman when he moved to Youngstown in 1970 and added "We talked politics."
Binning said he first learned of the Florida Ron DeSantis connection to the Valley in 2012 while on a trip to Italy with Father Rogers, Sister Regina Rogers and DeSantis's mother, Karen, whose son she told him was making a run for congress in Florida 6th District in 2012.
DeSantis is scheduled to speak Aug. 19 at the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Metroplex Expo Center in Liberty.