Florida Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rick Scott, Pam Bondi

Democrat spokesman calls chamber tool of corrupt Republican establishment
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 17, 2010 9:22 AM

Late Thursday the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsements in the gubernatorial and attorney general races -- backing Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott and attorney general hopeful Pam Bondi over their Democratic rivals.

Representing businesses that hire almost 140,000 Floridians, the chamber praised Scott and Bondi for their stances on reviving the state’s sluggish economic situation.

“Rick Scott’s 35 years' experience in creating jobs is the type of leadership that Florida’s economy needs,” said Chamber of Commerce Chairman Steve Halverson, the CEO of the Haskell Company. “Rick understands the central role businesses are to the health of our state’s economy, and his jobs creation plan will help develop the business climate needed for high-wage, high-skill jobs.”

Said Scott, who faces Democratic nominee state CFO Alex Sink in November, "As governor, I want to ensure every business has the tools to prosper and do what they do best: create jobs. I look forward to working with chamber members to keep taxes low, reduce job-killing regulations and get Florida back to work.”

The Florida Chamber had backed Attorney General Bill McCollum over Scott in the Republican gubernatorial primary, even forwarding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Florida First Initiative, a 527 organization that ran television ads attacking Scott.

The group also endorsed Bondi over Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, the Democratic nominee for attorney general.

“Pam Bondi’s nearly two decades of courtroom experience make her the best prepared candidate for attorney general,” said Halverson. “Her strong beliefs and clear-headed sensibility are qualities that will allow her to uphold the law and defend the rights of Florida businesses and consumers.”

“The Florida Chamber of Commerce is helping to lead the effort to create jobs in Florida, and I am honored by their endorsement,” said Bondi. “I look forward to working with them to make Florida safe, secure and more prosperous for everyone.”

The Florida Democratic Party shrugged off the endorsements.

“While their endorsements are not surprising, the Florida Chamber showed again they are simply a tool of the corrupt Republican establishment and special-interest insiders that have created a mess in Tallahassee,” said Eric Jotkoff, a spokesman for the Florida Democrats. “It’s clear Rick Scott simply wants to continue the failed policies that have left our economy as little more than a ‘ponzi scheme,’ with too many Florida families hurting during these tough economic times.

“By embracing Rick Scott and the slate of Republicans, the chamber again proved that ethics don’t matter and upholding the Republican status-quo is more important than being good corporate citizens of Florida,” added Jotkoff. “Their endorsement of Scott suggests historic fraud is OK, as long as you push an agenda that keeps hurting small businesses and Florida’s families.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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