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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott tells freshmen lawmakers: 'Be bold'



Dozens of freshman House members mingled with Rick Scott at a reception at the Governor's mansion on Wednesday night. Tampa's Janet Cruz, Daphne Campbell from Miami and Lori Berman from Palm Beach were among the Democratic minority who mingled with the group.

Tampa's James Grant, Dan Davis from Jacksonville and Jose Diaz from Miami sat on the patio with a group that included Tampa Rep. Dana Young and Lake City's Elizabeth Porter, munching on hors d'oeuvres while swapping stories about inboxes flooded with e-mails, sometimes tedious committee meetings and session living arrangements. (For some in this young crowd living quarters are modest. Think air mattresses.)

The 58-year-old governor delivered about 15 minutes of remarks to the crowd of mostly young men, telling them: "Be bold."

"We have the opporutnity to go down as the greatest group of people elected probably in history. The country's changing. The world's changing. You look at Egypt, Tunisia, Libya," he said.

As evidence of change in this country he pointed to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie. The country is ready, he said, for people who stand up for what they believe in without giving in to "special interests."

He apologized to anyone there who supported high speed rail, but repeated his belief that investment in ports would go further toward building Florida's economy and creating jobs by allowing the state take advantage of a widened Panama Canal and growing markets in Central and South America

"Whether you're a Republican or Democrat it's jobs," he said. "I was a businss guy all my life and I know. The free market works."

Inspired, Shalimar Republican Matt Gaetz piped up: "Anything we can do to help, Governor."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:09pm]


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