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Rick Scott Starts 2016 Back on Florida's Center Stage

January 6, 2016 - 3:30pm

Rick Scott’s starting the new year by offering some reminders that, even while he can’t run for a third term, he’s no lame duck in Tallahassee. 

While the economy continued to do well with tourism on the rise and the unemployment rate dropping, Scott had a few hiccups last year. Despite sizeable Republican majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, the House and the Senate were often on far different pages over the budget, redistricting, Medicaid expansion and other issues. 

Scott also hasn’t endeared himself to some of the GOP leadership. Leslie Dougher, Scott’s preferred candidate, was tossed overboard at the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). Scott simply stopped fundraising for the RPOF to focus on his Let’s Get to Work PAC and tensions are rising in Republican circles. 

But Scott’s not quacking like a lame duck yet. On Wednesday, Scott offered very kind words for GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in an op-ed that ran in the USA Today. While Scott didn’t throw his support to Trump, supporters of Florida Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio couldn’t be happy to read the governor’s words. 

“I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely,” Scott wrote. “But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.”

Pointing to his own business career, Scott slammed bureaucratic regulations emerging out of Washington D.C. that hurt the private sector and insisted he understood why frustrated Republicans were backing Trump. Scott also used his time on the national stage to showcase his own record. 

“I ran for governor of Florida to turn our economy around,” Scott noted. “I pledged to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. In the last five years, we have added one million private sector jobs. We presently have almost 300,000 job openings. Housing prices have recovered, and our crime rate is at a 44 year low. Even though the politicians will scoff at the notion, we can see this kind of growth nationally if we dramatically change our approach to governing.

“It is my hope that every Republican presidential candidate will become laser-focused on job creation because I want our next president to be a Republican, and I want them to eliminate the regulations and taxes that are poisoning our country’s future,” Scott concluded. “The pollsters and pundits will keep trying to read voters’ minds. In the meantime, I am glad Republicans are frustrated. I am glad we are demanding a major change, because until we get serious about that, we will continue to get more of the same.”

That wasn’t all Scott had up his sleeves this week. With the Legislature headed to Tallahassee to kickoff the annual session, Let’s Get to Work is running ads featuring Scott promoting for $1 billion in tax cuts, including cutting taxes on manufacturers and lowering the commercial lease tax, and calling for more money for Enterprise Florida to lure businesses to the Sunshine State. 

With tensions still in place between the House and the Senate and perhaps amplified as senators look over their shoulders due to the latest round of redistricting, Scott probably won’t run the table and get all that he wants. But even with most attention focused on the presidential race, Scott’s claiming his share of the political spotlight. As he starts his sixth legislative session, Scott’s showing he’s not a lame duck quite yet. 

 Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN 

Comments

Fuzzy math. Scott promised to create 700,000 jobs above normal recovery numbers. He failed. Then consider his cuts to goverment and the fact there are thousands of untested rape kits because there were no funds or personnel. Yea. Brag about failing and somehow make it a positive.

it is absolutely remarkable to me that instead of just keeping quiet - or God forbid praising the Governor for focusing on jobs for Florida, that you take an opportunity to attack him. Look, if you don't like the guy or youre upset over an issue like rape kits, so be it. But the one thing that cannot be argued is that THIS governor has been laser focused on bringing jobs to Florida and deserves credit for it. I can't stand Donald Trump, and I am not wild about the Governor's op-ed piece praising him. But I am not wiling to ignore the fact that he is doing something that needed to be done, and that's create jobs. Fuzzy math or not, the guy is doing something that you haven't, or at least if Dean Franklin is creating jobs for Florida, I haven't heard of them - OR your suggestions for creating more. Here's one big atta boy for Governor Scott continuing to stay focused on creating more high paying jobs for Floridians! In his words, "let's keep working!"

What a pathetic joke. The only thing Scott has been laser focused on? His own net worth. Which has just about doubled in 7 years. Jobs? No matter who was in office about a million to 1.2 million jobs would have been created by the recovery, done without any republican co-operation at the state and federal level. Jobs? While there is no actual accounting of how many jobs have been created by Scotts slush fund Enterprise Florida or if they were filled by Floridians and at what rate, best estimates show a cost of $60 to 90,000 each. Do I like Scott? Not a bit. I'm tired of southern political crooks, of politicians who make million$ while in office who then retire to jobs where they make million$ more. He was elected by less than 25% of Floridians and has represented the will of even less. I will be glad when he is gone and I hope Floridians have enough sense to elect somebody from Florida who actually cares about Florida.

WHEN will the FGOP start ignoring Scott and move on with REAL Republicans' interests?

He's not a "lame duck" ... he's a weird duck! And a carpetbagging duck! And he somehow ducked becoming a felon! Him and his gerrymandering legislature have done more to screw up this state during the Great Bush Recession years than the Civil War did!

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