Scribbles from Gov. Rick Scott's meeting with Senate Republicans
Scribbles in my notebook after Gov. Rick Scott met tonight with the Senate Republican caucus.
1.) It's hard to imagine companies suddenly climbing over each other to come to Florida, but Scott told the Senate Republican caucus tonight that he anticipates an announcement next week of a corporation relocating to the state.
Scott, who hustled into his black SUV after the meeting, didn't take any questions from reporters. Brian Burgess, Scott's spokesman, didn't have any more details on the announcement.
"Everyday we're going to be doing this," Scott said about his focus on job creation.
2.) Sen. Ronda Storms asked whether that Scott would eliminate legislative affairs positions in state agencies. During the campaign, Scott mocked state agencies for having their own lobbyists, but he re-calibrated that message tonight. Scott said agencies would be slimmer, but there would still be a point of contact for lawmakers. "The goal is that it's going to be a coordinated effort," Scott said. "We're not going to be saying something different that what one of our agencies is saying."
3.) Scott has said he's punctual and so far he's proving it. He was among the first to arrive for the 6:30 p.m. meeting at Andrews 228. He chatted with Sen. Evelyn Lynn for a bit before the rest of the caucus arrived.
4.) Scott said he will install his economic development team inside the governor's office on the first floor of the Capitol. "Just two or three doors down from my office. I'll have somebody there to do this everyday."
5.) Scott believes he and Senate Republicans are on the same page heading into the spring legislative session: "I've not heard anything to believe that anybody believes differently," Scott said. "I imagine everyone worries whether I'm really going to do what I believe in and I always worry the same way about y'all. But no one has said anything to me that anyone has a different agenda."
Some see the GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate and see a Legislature immune from the governor's veto pen. But Scott sees that muscle as a good thing. "That should be helpful," he said of the supermajority.
6.) Scott is so new to Florida politics that perhaps the most telling question of the night came from Sen. Steve Oelrich, who asked: "Governor, would you kindly introduce people on your staff?" (Scott was joined by communication chief Burgess, general counsel Hayden Dempsey and personal assistant Dean Petrone.)
7.) Speaking of outsiders, Senate President Mike Haridopolos gave the "dean of the Senate" award to Sen. Dennis Jones before Scott left. Jones graciously accepted it, but is that really an award you want to accept in front of a guy who won the state's top political office running against "career politicians"?
8.) Sen. Paula Dockery asked what change Scott would push for this year in light of the grand jury report on public corruption. Scott said he was waiting for a recommendation from his advisers. "It would be a big mistake if we don't make sure the public feels comfortable with what we're doing," Scott said. "Otherwise, if they don't trust us, if we're not transparent with what we're doing and things like that, then we lose all their trust. And it's not worth it."
9.) On public schools, Scott wants "as much choice as we can have." He said education adviser Michelle Rhee will help explain to any changes to the public "so we don't end up getting criticized for doing the right thing."
10.) Scott said he had lunch today at Crispers in Tallahassee where he was greeted by a throng of customers. "People come up to you and they really need optimism," he said. "Because some people have really, really struggled."
11.) Speaking of Tallahassee, Scott ridiculed the Capitol City during the campaign as a center of corruption that was overrun by special interests. He seems to be warming to the town (at least figuratively). Some quotes tonight:
• "I like Tallahassee. As you know, we moved into the mansion. My wife likes it up here."
•"Tallahassee is a nice town. It's full of nice people."
• "It's nice. It's a little chilly right now."