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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott to address Florida business leaders in private



rickscott.jpgHow important is Gov.-elect Rick Scott's speech tonight to the biannual meeting of the Florida Council of 100?

Important enough to fly to Orlando from San Diego, where he's attending the Republican Governor's Association meeting. He'll then fly back to the West Coast after the speech, which is scheduled to start during the group's dinner at 7:30 p.m.

Scott's No. 1 priority is to cut taxes and regulations for Florida businesses with the goal that those businesses will use the savings to hire more workers. Scott's first speech since winning the election is to the businesses that presumably will benefit from his policies and create those 700,000 extra jobs he promised on the campaign trail.

But apparently the speech is not important enough to let in any press. 

Scott's team will publish the prepared remarks, but put the blame on the council for keeping reporters away. "It's their decision and we're respecting their decision," Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said. "We respect the circumstances under which they invited us."

Council of 100 President Susan Pareigis said Scott's folks never asked for it to be open. "It's a private membership meeting," Pareigis said. "There's no question-and-answer. It's in-and-out and it's pretty quick."

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and future House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, are giving closed-door speeches to the group on Friday.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 3:23pm]


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