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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott to spend 'a lot of time' in D.C.

26

January

Scribbles in my notebook after spending the day with Gov. Rick Scott in the First Coast.

1.) Only Washington D.C. topped Tallahassee on Rick Scott's list of most-loathed cities during the campaign. So guess where the Republican governor plans to point the nose of his private jet?

Scott said Tuesday that he’ll visit the nation's capital as often as once a month to work on transportation, education and health care issues.

"I'm going to be spending a lot of time in Washington making sure that we get our fair share of dollars," Scott said at the TracPac Container Terminal, which he visited as part of a tour of the Jacksonville Port Authority.

2.) Of course, it's part of Scott's responsibility to lobby D.C. on the state's top issues. But using phrases like "fair share of dollars" is an interesting contrast to just a few months ago when Scott was hammering his political opponents by railing against federal spending in Florida.

Now that Scott is governor and under pressure to deliver new jobs to the state, that federal money doesn’t sound so toxic.

3.) Where Scott sees a big opportunity for new federal money is expansion of the state's ports. In Jacksonville, port officials are looking for $650 million to dig their biggest ports from 40 to 50 feet deep.

“This sure appears to be one of the places we need to expand,” Scott said.

4.) Asked if he there was federal money to pay for that dredging, Scott said, “Well, I hope so.”

5.) Team Scott failed to convince their top pick to submit an application for secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.

We’re told that Tyler Duvall, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. DOT under President Bush, turned down a full-court press from Scott’s supporters and instead opted to keep his consulting job at the Washington D.C.-based McKinsey & Company.

The Florida Transportation Commission on Friday will pick from a list of 46 applicants to interview for the job. The interviews are currently scheduled for Feb. 11 in Orlando.

6.) At the Florida Sheriff's Association conference Tuesday night, Scott appealed to some of the state's most popular politicians to help sell his budget proposal, now slated to be released on Feb. 7.

"How many of you voted for a tax increase?," Scott said. "How many of you think state government spends it money perfectly?

"So when I come out with a budget I hope you'll remember that. Because what's going to happen is I'm going to do everything I can to do everything I said I was going to do, but there are going to be a lot of special interests that will say, 'Why aren't you spending money on this project or this project or this project?' Maybe it's a good project, but it's not the highest priority or it not something state government ought to be doing.

"So I hope each one of you will stay active and defend me a little bit because I'm going to do exactly what I said I was going to do," he said.

7.) In return, Scott offered to add to his already lengthy list of promises. “I promise I’ll never, you won’t have any unfunded mandates,” he told the sheriffs to a round of applause.

“I don’t believe state government ought to be telling you how you should do law enforcement," he said. "I think you know what you should be doing and your communities will hold you accountable.”

8.) Scott referenced the police shootings in Miami and St. Petersburg (he said the memorial service in Miami was a "moving experience") and told the group he'll do whatever he can to push their legislative agenda through the state Capitol.

But there's one thing he wont do: back any legislative attempts to restrict access to guns.

“I believe in the right to bear arms and I don’t see that there’s anything we should be doing right now to tighten that," he said in an interview after the dinner.

Scott owns 11 guns, including some he uses for bird hunting and some pistols that he takes for target practice.

9.) The shootings in Florida come just days after the tragedy in Tucson. Scott himself was a target of violent rhetoric in October used by Pennslyvania Democrat Paul Kanjorski. Scott didn't really want to talk it.

“I know about it. I didn’t read it. I’ve never met him that I know of," Scott said. "I didn’t see any video of what he said. It’s what somebody told me.”

“It’s wrong to say something like that. But I don’t know the context.”

10.) Scott said he didn't know Kurt Browning, his pick to oversee elections in Florida, headed the campaign to defeat a pair of redistricting amendments in November. The constitutional amendments were approved but implementation have been delayed.

"I’ll make the decision. It’s my decision, not theirs," Scott said.

“I’m the governor of the entire state. My job is to represent all voters. So I just want to make sure when we make requests like that, we have all the data first.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 10:24am]

    

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