Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, spoke with Miami Herald/WLRN reporter Phil Latzman while he was in Miami this week about a wide variety of issues including the his hopes for this legislative session, his apparent political turn to the left, his support of Medicaid expansion and teacher raises and a variety of other issues.
Gov. Scott on jobs:
I’d like to have more manufacturing jobs in the state. So I want to get rid of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment so we have more manufacturing jobs. These companies, when they do that they invest big dollars so those jobs stay here.
I believe there is a better way of making sure all citizens have access to quality health care than the present law, but it passed. The Supreme Court upheld it. Mitt Romney lost the presidential race and he was going to repeal it. So it’s a law of the land.
On his turn to the left:
I ran my race on two primary issues. One, I like to make sure every Floridian who wants a job has access to a job. And you should know we’ve had big progress, we’ve gone from losing 800,000 jobs in four years to gaining almost 300,000 jobs. From unemployment tripling, to having the second biggest drop in unemployment, so that’s what I ran on. The other thing I ran on is education.
I lived growing up with my parents who struggled to have jobs, my dad had his car repossessed, I’ve had all those struggles in my life. I know that the education system is very important to living the American Dream. My first year I walked in with a $3.7 billion budget deficit, so I made the tough choices, now we’re making smart choices. Last year I proposed, and the Legislature went along with, increasing K-12 a billion dollars, this year I want to do another billion dollar increase in K-12 funding. And as part of that, our classroom teachers need a $2500 pay raise.
On Internet cafes:
We know that here’s a company that was engaged in criminal conspiracy, law enforcement kept me informed as they were doing this investigation. But look, now what we have to look at is, we have to look at what’s happened there and the Legislature really needs to look at this and have all options on the table, cause look, we want to live in a safe environment where people are complying with the law.
On how to choose a new lieutenant
I’ll go through the process and pick somebody that would be the most qualified to be governor if I’m not here, I want somebody to make sure that they’re going to do a great job and do what I do everyday. Say, how do we make sure every Floridian who wants a job can get one? How do we make sure children can get a great education?
We’ve got to continue to make sure that everybody who wants a job can have one. I mean as you know we’ve had great progress going from losing 800,000 jobs in four years to gaining almost 300,000 jobs in two years. So that’s a real positive. Unemployment’s the second biggest drop in the country of any state in the country. So that’s a real positive. We’ve got to keep it up.
On texting and driving
I’m a father and I know the risks of texting. I now have one grandson, I’m going to have two more grandchildren this year. So it’s clearly an issue, and hopefully the Legislature will do the right thing.
I’ve asked my secretary of state to sit down with every supervisor of elections because in some counties, including Miami-Dade, you had long lines. We came back and I said these are the things we need to work on. One, the length of the ballot. Two, the size of the polling stations. Three, the number of days. Those are the issues I want to do, I want to increase the number of days, I want to allow the supervisors the flexibility to have voting the Sunday before the Tuesday election and I know the House and Senate are both working on that.