Transcript of Rick Scott and Alex Sink's first debate here
Missed the debate Friday, and didn't stay up to watch it at 11 p.m.? Here's the transcript, judge it for yourself:
UNIVISION DEBATE TRANSCRIPT
Program: “Destino 2010” – Univision Florida Gubernatorial Debate
Content: Univision Debate with the Candidates for Governor of Florida - Candidate Rick Scott (R) and Chief Financial Officer of Florida Alex Sink (D)
Date: October 8, 2010
***NOTE: If you would like a copy of the transcript in Spanish, please contact Carolina Valencia email@example.com.
MAM = Mario Andres Moreno
RS = Rick Scott
AS = Alex Sink
JAA = Jose Alfonso Almora
SP = Sandra Peebles
VO = Voice Over
AQ = Audience Question
VO: Univision 23 your station for politics presents "Looking for Florida's Next Governor, The Debate." The two candidates for governor of Florida meet face-to-face to address the state's Hispanic electorate, Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott will discuss the issues most affecting our Hispanic community. Tonight, your channel for politics makes history again with this full running governor's debate. Joining us now is your host, Mario Andres Moreno.
MAM: HELLO. HOW ARE YOU? AND WELCOME. WE WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME OUR VIEWERS FROM “NOTICIAS 23” IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND ALSO OUR AFFILIATE STATIONS IN TAMPA, ORLANDO, NAPLES AND FORT MYERS, AS WELL AS OUR RADIO LISTENERS ON WQBA 1140 AND THOSE WHO JOIN US VIA UNIVISION23.COM. NEVER BEFORE HAVE TWO CANDIDATES TO THE -- FOR GOVERNOR PARTICIPATED TOGETHER IN A DEBATE TELECASTED EXCLUSIVELY IN SPANISH AND DIRECTED AT THE HISPANIC VOTERS IN FLORIDA WHO COMPRISE 13 PERCENT OF OUR STATE'S ELECTORATE. WITH US NOW IS BUSINESSMAN AND REPUBLICAN MR. RICK SCOTT. MR. SCOTT, WELCOME.
RS: Gracias a Univision por presentar este debate, y gracias a los televiendos que estan viendo este programa en sus hogares.
[Thanks to Univision for hosting this debate, and thank you to the viewers watching this program in their home]
MAM: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING WITH US AND WE ALSO WANT TO WELCOME FLORIDA'S CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER DEMOCRAT ALEX SINK. WELCOME, MRS. SINK.
AS: Thank you to Univision and thank you to all the viewers. I also want to thank my husband of 24 years. He's here with me tonight, Bill. And I look forward to the debate.
MAM: WE HOPE WE HAVE AN EXCELLENT DEBATE. THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AND FOR HAVING ACCEPTED THIS INVITATION. WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY TWO PANELISTS: MY COLLEAGUE, POLITICAL REPORTER AND UNIVISION 23 ANCHOR, SANDRA PEEBLES. WELCOME, SANDRA. AND ALSO MY COLLEAGUE JOSE ALFONSO ALMORA, A UNIVISION 23 REPORTER AND RADIO HOST AT UNIVISION'S WQBA 1140. WELCOME BOTH OF YOU AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. BEFORE WE BEGIN, WE WANT TO EXPLAIN TO YOU THE RULES FOR THIS DEBATE. QUESTIONS WILL BE DIRECTED AT BOTH CANDIDATES. THEY EACH WILL HAVE ONE MINUTE TO RESPOND. THE ONE WHO SPEAKS FIRST WILL BE GIVEN A 30 SECOND REBUTTAL IF HE OR SHE SO CHOOSES. THE QUESTIONS AS YOU MAY SEE WILL BE ASKED IN SPANISH. ALL THE CANDIDATES WILL HEAR SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETATION INTO ENGLISH AND THEN THEY WILL RESPOND IN ENGLISH. AT THE END, EACH WILL HAVE ONE MINUTE AND 30 SECONDS FOR CLOSING STATEMENT. SPEAKING ORDER WAS PREDETERMINED BY THE COIN TOSS. WE SHALL START BY A PROBLEM THAT AFFECTS ALL OF US AND THAT IS THE ECONOMY. WE CANNOT TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC CRISIS WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE. THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM SANDRA PEEBLES.
SP: Thank you very much [to Mario Andres]. And [to] both candidates, please tell me, Mr. Scott, you have promised to create 700,000 jobs over the next seven years, something your critics consider unrealistic. And you, Mrs. Sink, how about committing to an exact number of new jobs? Florida's unemployment rate is presently 11.7 percent and amongst Hispanics, it's even higher than that. How will you get more Floridians back to work and faster than your opponent proposes? Mrs. Sink?
AS: Thank you, Sandra. 10 months ago, I put together a very specific business plan for Florida to revive our economy and also to remake and diversify our economy. I have a 26-year business history here in the state of Florida. And what I was doing in my business background was I was making loans to small businesses because that's what Florida is made of, small businesses. And in my reviving plan, I call for tax credits and tax incentives to small businesses who hire more Floridians. I also believe that the work that the state of Florida does with its standards ought to be preferred to Florida-based businesses who are hiring Floridians. And as governor, on the first day, I will ensure that we expedite transportation projects and other projects that involve getting people back to work because it's our most important and it will be my biggest priority.
MAM: THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. MR. SCOTT?
RS: I have a seven step plan for 700,000 jobs. First, you know, my whole background is in business. You run the state like you run your business or you run your household. Watch how you spend every penny. Downsize the size of state government. As state government grows, you lose the private sector. Our state government has exploded the last four years. Third, we're gonna freeze all regulations. Regulation is killing jobs, the paperwork, the delay, the uncertainty, so we're gonna freeze regulation and look at what we can roll back that doesn't hurt consumers. Fourth, all my life, I've talked to business people about how you build businesses. When I travel the state and travel the country and the world [inaudible] this is the state to do business. This will be the number one state to do business. Put a lot of money into research dollars in our universities. They need to team up with the private sector just like they do in other states. Finally, we're gonna cut property taxes by 19 percent and we're gonna phase out the business tax. If we do all these things, we will get the state back to work. We should be the number one state for job creation. When you look at the people that live in this state, the proximity to Central and South America, expansion of the Panama Canal, this will be the state for job creation.
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS ABOUT THE SAME TOPIC, MRS. SINK.
AS: Well, Rick, I don't think the people of Florida want you to run the state of Florida the way that you ran your business. You ran a business that was charged with the most massive fraud in the history of our country. This wasn't a way to create jobs. In fact, you closed 50 hospitals around the country and fired nurses and other healthcare providers. So what we need here in Florida is a person who has character and integrity who's never been accused of not having integrity in her whole career.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE NOW WITH A TOPIC THAT'S VERY CLOSELY TIED TO THIS ONE. IT'S IN SEVERAL COUNTIES THAT THIS HAPPENED IN SOUTH FLORIDA. TAXES, PROPERTY TAXES HAVE GONE UP, EVEN THOUGH PROPERTY TAX VALUES HAVE GONE DOWN. ONE OF OUR VIEWERS HAS A QUESTION REGARDING THIS TOPIC FOR THE CANDIDATES. LET'S SEE.
AQ: Hello, my name is Elena and my question is what will you all be doing to help the homeowners to lower taxes, property taxes?
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR THAT QUESTION. MR. SCOTT, WE SHALL START WITH YOU. YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE.
RS: Sure. What I'm gonna do is exactly what you do in business. We start with accountability budgeting. We'll take every state agency and we'll look at what the purpose is. We'll have very specific purposes for every agency, we'll eliminate programs that have never worked or don't work; we'll find best practices but we'll go through every agency. On top of that -- and there's a lot of opportunity -- every time, every business I've ever purchased, there's always a lot of waste you can find. There's a lot of waste in state government. As you go around the state, you listen to people tell [you] about their experience in dealing with state government and the unbelievable waste, so we will drive down the cost of state government and by doing that, we'll be able to reduce property taxes. Property taxes are too high, business taxes are too high. We have got to get the state back to work and I have a detailed plan, seven steps to 700,000 jobs. We will get this state back to work. We should be the number one state for job creation. The way to do it is we've got to reduce all taxes.
MAM: MRS. SINK?
AS: I believe it's very important to maintain Florida as a low tax state and we have been recognized by many business publications as being the -- one of the lowest business tax states in this country. Even Republicans have said that Rick Scott's plan doesn't add up because in his plan, he calls for a billion five reduction in taxes which would immediately reduce expenditure for our public schools and look, especially people in the Hispanic community know how important education is. The stronger education will lead to a stronger economy and we need to be investing in our public schools as opposed to taking billions more away from our critically needed public school education, the teachers and also our students because the results are not good. We have to invest more in education. His plan is flawed.
RS: This is the big difference. My opponent wants to grow government, all right? She's backed property tax increases, sales tax increases, lottery tax increases, payroll tax increases. I want to -- I want to grow jobs. My whole career is building private sector jobs, so I believe in [a] smaller government. I believe in giving people, giving the money back to the individual, back to the business people, they're gonna grow jobs. Higher taxes, which is what my opponent wants, will not create jobs.
MAM: THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO BOTH OF YOU. NOW LET'S GO WITH OUR PANELIST, JOSE ALFONSO ALMORA.
JAA: Thank you. Both of you have leveled accusations against each other of trying to buy the election, either through your own private wealth or from major contributions from special interests. How would you respond to voters who are concerned about the amount of money being spent in this campaign and the possibility that you may be buying the office of governor? Mrs. Sink.
AS: Well, that's an easy answer for me because I've ran a campaign for many months now and as a result, I have more than 60,000 contributions that I have raised, so nobody is going to own me in this election. I think that we do need reform in the way that election financing is done and as governor, I'll support additional reform, but the bottom line is 60,000 contributors have invested in my campaign. They believe in me and they believe in my agenda and my agenda alone.
JAA: Mr. Scott?
RS: Well, as we know, no one can buy an election. You know, people win elections based on having the right ideas, the right plans, like my seven step plan for 700,000 jobs. That's what wins elections. When you put out your ideas of how you’re gonna change how government works. I put out a plan on how we improve our schools. I mean, our schools have had major improvement. Governor George -- Jeb Bush is here in the audience supporting me. He had a major impact on our schools. You know, we did the right things. We put in more measurement, we created more choice, things that my opponent disagrees with, so we have got to continue down the path of focusing on how we build private sector jobs and you can't win an election by doing anything other than -- by spending your money. You win elections by ideas, plans and getting out there and talking to as many voters as you can, which is what I spent the last six months doing. And, you know, one thing about this great state, as you travel this state, whether you grew up here or whether you've moved here, it's people that wanna work hard, they don't wanna become dependent on government, they wanna build businesses and be part of successful businesses.
MAM: MRS. SINK?
AS: Rick, I've been thinking a lot about your seven step plan. Lived in Florida just barely seven years, that's barely long enough to qualify for being governor, take the fifth amendment 75 times so that you won't incriminate yourself and thirdly, spend $70 million of your own money so that you can catapult yourself right into the governor's office. That's your seven-seven-seven plan. I think if you had lived in Florida for those little seven years and been more involved in the fabric of our community and been more of a contributor, maybe that would make a difference, but your seven-seven-seven plan is buying the office.
MAM: THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. SO THAT WE HAVE GOOD TIMING FOR BOTH, LET US CONTINUE. BUT LET US CONTINUE WITH THE MONEY TOPIC. MR. SCOTT, IT'S PUBLICLY KNOWN THAT YOUR NET WORTH IS ESTIMATED AT MORE THAN $200 MILLION. AND YOU, MRS. SINK, YOUR NET WORTH IS JUST OVER $9 MILLION. ACCORDING TO THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, 13.3 PERCENT OF FLORIDIANS ARE LIVING AT OR BELOW POVERTY LEVEL AND THE MEDIAN INCOME FOR HISPANICS IN FLORIDA IS SLIGHTLY BELOW $28,000 A YEAR. THE QUESTION IS FOR BOTH OF YOU. HOW DO YOU CONVINCE VOTERS THAT DESPITE YOUR ECONOMIC STATUS, YOU CAN RELATE TO THE CHALLENGES THAT FLORIDA FAMILIES FACE DAILY? MR. SCOTT, YOU FIRST.
RS: Sure. I started school in public housing. My father was a truck driver -- first a bus driver then a truck driver, so I had -- and if you go back to when I was growing up, truckers were generally laid off by Thanksgiving because the department stores were full, so I never had a holiday that my parents had it easy. I -- you know, we were, we were taken care of by family friends and even the firemen. So that's -- that was the way that I grew up. I've worked since I was in second grade. I sold TV Guides door-to-door, I was a fry cook for 85 cents an hour, I delivered newspapers for a penny a paper, I did yards, I worked in groceries, I went to community college, I joined the Navy as enlisted person and then married -- of course I married my high school sweetheart two years later. I've lived the American dream. I know exactly what it's like and I know how difficult it is. I've -- I still have friends that are struggling. And in this six-month journey to become governor, I've learned -- I've talked to a lot of people that are worried about their jobs, they've lost their jobs.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. MRS. SINK?
AS: Thank you because I am happy to have the opportunity to tell a little bit about my story. I grew up in a family farm in North Carolina. When I started my business career, I started at the bottom, at an entry level job and stayed with the same company for 26 years and worked my way up right here in the State of Florida. But, you know, this is what we have to think about. I want to be the governor of the State of Florida because I believe the role of governor is to look after the people of Florida and to understand the challenges they're experiencing. Right now, small businesses I speak to all the time are just hanging on -- hanging on by their fingernails trying to get through this very difficult economy. I've been a problem solver my whole life and all I want is a stronger economy for our state. I'll put my problem solving ability and my integrity and the fact that people can trust me to get the job done as I have done in the last three-and-a-half years serving the state -- the people of the State of Florida in Tallahassee right on the line to solve these problems.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. RICK SCOTT.
RS: You know, I'm running for governor because I believe in the American Dream. And I want that same dream -- we have two daughters, my wife is here in the audience, both my daughters are working, they're 25 and 28. I want the same dream for them, for their husbands, our grandchildren whenever we have them, and for everybody in Florida. And if we continue the path we're going down, especially the path of the last four years with high unemployment, homeowner's under water, a state budget in shambles, that dream will die. And that's why I'm running for governor.
MAM: THANK YOU BOTH OF YOU. LET'S NOW TALK ABOUT IMMIGRATION. REPUBLICAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM SNYDER STATED THAT HE WOULD PROPOSE AT THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION THE FLORIDA IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ACT. THIS PROPOSAL WOULD REQUIRE IMMIGRANTS TO CARRY ON THEMSELVES VALID DOCUMENT OR FACE UP TO 20 DAYS IN JAIL, AND WOULD ALSO ALLOW JUDGES TO HAND DOWN STIFFER PENALTIES TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS WHO COMMIT THE SAME CRIMES AS LEGAL RESIDENTS. WHAT STEPS -- THIS IS THE QUESTION, WHAT STEPS WOULD YOU TAKE TO PROMOTE OR DETER ITS PASSAGE INTO LAW, AND DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS PROPOSAL GOES TOO FAR AND TARGETS IMMIGRANTS UNJUSTLY? WE WILL START WITH YOU, MR. SCOTT, MRS. SINK.
AS: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said start with Mr. Scott. Okay. Problem with the translation I presume. It is for me? Sorry. Sorry. I have a very strong position on illegal immigration. We know that the federal government has failed us. We know that it is the federal government's responsibility and they should take action to pass comprehensive immigration reform that can be consistently applied across all 50 states. However, Florida is not Arizona. My approach would be this: To require businesses or to increase the penalty on businesses who knowingly hire illegal immigrants and take away jobs from Floridians, and from legal immigrants here in our state, so that it would deter them from hiring illegal immigrants. And also, let me speak about law enforcement because that's become a big issue in this proposed legislation. Law enforcement has endorsed me. I am the first Democrat in 20 years that the two major law enforcement organizations have endorsed because they know where I stand on immigration, and I have consulted with them. The job needs to done by the federal government.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. WE ARE GOING TO TOUCH ON THAT TOPIC LATER ON, MRS. SINK, IF YOU ALLOW US. A MINUTE FOR YOU, MR. SCOTT.
RS: First thing, there are things that Ms. Sink says that are untrue. If you go to factsforflorida.com it will point those out. She's not supported by law enforcement. So, first off let's talk about immigration. We are a country of legal immigration. My running mate, Jennifer Carroll is a legal immigrant. She came from Trinidad at the age of eight. She has lived the American dream just like I have. She was raised by her great aunt and great uncle. She joined the service just like I did, the Navy. She stayed 20 years, started at the bottom as enlisted, retired as a lieutenant commander. She’s been a very successful legislator. We want -- both of us want all Americans to have that same dream whether they grew up here or they're legal immigrants or not. We need to make sure that we have a comprehensive legal immigration process going forward. Thank you.
AS: Well, Rick, you need to start telling the truth. I've been endorsed by the two largest law enforcement organizations in the state of Florida. I've also been endorsed by not only Democratic sheriffs but Republican sheriffs. Republican sheriffs who stand up and say they have serious questions about your integrity and whether or not you could be trusted to be our government -- our governor. And, in addition, let me just go back, you do say that you lived the American dream. Well, the reason that you were able to walk out of the company with $300 million and live the American dream is because you were cheating, and I think you need to start telling the truth about me and about other things.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. LET'S CONTINUE WITH YOU, SANDRA PEEBLES. GO AHEAD.
SP: Local law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about having to enforce immigration laws saying that their relationship with the community could be deeply affected, and their ability to investigate crimes could be compromised. How do you respond to these concerns? Let's start with you, Mr. Scott.
RS: Well, I think we need to be careful. We need to make sure that there's no racial profiling. We need to make sure the federal government does their job and secures our borders. We need to make sure that -- the things we have to worry about is 1) We want legal immigration. We need to create economic barriers to illegal immigration. The way you do that is you make sure that people know the process to come in. We have a guest worker program that works where people know how they can come in. Employers know how they can hire. Instead of having a policy for employers that's vindictive, we need to give them a process such as e-verify so they know whether people are legal or are illegal. On top of that, we need to make sure that none of our law enforcement is ever put in a position that they are even accused of any racial profiling. That's wrong. However, if you're in our country and you get stopped by law enforcement, just like we get asked for our ID, you should be able to be asked if you're legal or not.
AS: Well, again, Rick Scott was supporting the Arizona Immigration Law from the very beginning, and he introduced it as an issue in this governor's race well before Arizona went back and fixed the racial profiling aspect of the Arizona Immigration Law. And in addition, it's been reported that the medical director of your current company said that you told him specifically when he wanted to hire a Hispanic nurse that he could not hire that person because the person had too much of a Hispanic accent, and that you wanted only mainstream employees. That's sounds like racial profiling to me.
MAM: MR. SCOTT, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT? PLEASE GO AHEAD.
RS: Go to factsforflorida, it's all untrue. The company that I helped start called Solantic, you can look up rickscottforflorida.com, look at the website. It shows the number of minorities that work at that company. It's dramatically higher than the national average. So it's a company, you know, this is what we're going to see if Mrs. Sink is governor. She's going to attack legitimate businesses day in and day out, accuse them of things that are completely untrue, not worry about what the facts are. So it's absolutely untrue. And with regard to, you know…
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. LET'S GO NOW AND TALK ABOUT LOCAL MATTERS. THE NEXT QUESTIONS ARE OF A PERSONAL NATURE FOR EACH CANDIDATE. NONETHELESS, YOUR OPPONENT WILL BE ABLE TO RESPOND AND NEXT WILL BE ABLE TO ANSWER BACK FOR 30 SECONDS. SANDRA PEEBLES, PLEASE GO AHEAD.
SP: This question is addressed to Mr. Scott. Even though you never faced criminal charges, your former company, HCA, was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud. You have stated that you wished that somebody would have warned you about this fraud. However, the annual public reports to stockholders that you signed show that you were cautioned year after year that the financial incentives your company offered doctors could be violating federal anti-kickback law. In addition, in a 2007 deposition, you refused to answer questions on that same topic invoking the Fifth Amendment 75 times. If you had nothing to hide, why did you refuse to answer, and why did you choose to ignore the warnings contained in those reports?
RS: Well, as you know, I started the company from scratch with my and my wife's savings of $125,000. In over a nine-year period of time we went from scratch to 343 hospitals, took care of 100,000 patients a day, and had 285,000 employees. We did a great job at reducing healthcare inflation, improving patient satisfaction and outcome. We could have done a much better job of making sure there were no mistakes with regard to Medicare filing. When you're the CEO you take responsibility and I do. And so that's -- I would love to have been better at that. With regard to that deposition, that was years after I left HCA. It was just, you know, all the same trial lawyers that are supporting my opponent, they were doing a fishing expedition, and they sat there, you know, it was a case I knew nothing about, I was not involved, I was not a defendant. So to stop the fishing expedition I just didn't do it. That's going to be the difference. When I'm governor, we're going to do tort reform. We're going to make sure that these lawyers that support my opponent just can't go about doing fishing expeditions against legitimate businesses.
MAM: THANK YOU. YOU WILL HAVE A MINUTE. MRS. SINK, PLEASE GO AHEAD.
AS: Yes. I would like to respond to that. It's hard to know where to start because obviously Rick Scott doesn't take any responsibility. I had a sheriff tell me the other day that if one of his deputies went to a deposition and took the Fifth Amendment that they would be fired on the spot. And this business of not wanting to answer -- people in this country don't take the Fifth Amendment unless they're trying to cover up something that they did wrong and they're afraid. And Rick you didn't start this company from scratch. You got a rich, wealthy partner together and convinced a bank to loan you $65 million dollars and you went and bought three hospitals in El Paso, Texas and closed one. That's not, you know, starting a small business the way we here in Florida think about starting small businesses.
MAM: THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. MR. SCOTT, 30 SECONDS.
RS: So first off, Mrs. Sink, if you want to talk about fraud, why do you allow convicted felons to sell insurance in this state? You do it. And if you want to talk about fraud, you were one of two audit members of a publicly traded company that committed -- falsified the accounting, the shareholders lost over $500 million, and the company had to pay millions of dollars in fines. And that's just one. There's many of these. Your bank had similar things…
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. THE NEXT QUESTION WILL BE ASKED BY MR. JOSE ALFONSO ALMORA.
JAA: Mrs. Sink, in August you requested an audit of the new First District Court of Appeals building in Tallahassee which cost the state an estimated $48 million. It's been called Taj Mahal because it contains luxurious amenities. You stated in a preliminary review that $16 million of the funding may have come from a raid on the state workers' compensation fund. As Florida's chief financial officer, you were responsible for overseeing that fund. Why did you order the audit only after media reports surfaced, and could that money have been raided from a state fund without your knowledge?
AS: Well this building that's called the Taj Mahal, trust me, it looks like the Taj Mahal. It's an outrage. And the audit results will be out early next week. Here are the facts. The legislature approved the funding for this building at $48 million, and it was approved by the governor. In our state, it's the governor and the legislature who approve expenditures of funds. Part of the payment of the -- part of that money was coming from our workers' comp trust fund, which we testified heavily and vociferously to the legislature not to raid the workers' comp trust fund, it belongs to the businesses of this state. And yet the legislature overruled us, went ahead, raided the workers' comp trust fund and it's probably going to result in increased taxes for Florida businesses, and that is exactly what's wrong with Tallahassee. That's what I've seen for three years, and that's what I'm going to do as governor. I'm going to clean up that mess in Tallahassee.
MAM: THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. THANK YOU. MR. SCOTT, ONE MINUTE.
RS: Okay. My opponent takes no responsibility for anything. Step one, all right, you know, she talks about fraud. Why is she allowing convicted felons to sell insurance to her citizens? Two, why has she not taken any responsibility for the public company that falsified its accounting when she was an audit committee member? Next, at Nations Bank, her employees were paid kickbacks. They were paid kickbacks for getting elderly consumers to move from safe deposits -- safe, you know, bank deposits, to risky investments. Again, her company was fined. She's Florida’s chief financial officer, she calls herself a fiscal watchdog. Under her watch after auditors told her many times they were in too risky investments, that pension fund lost billions of dollars. It went from being over funded to underfunded, but again, she won't take responsibility for anybody.
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. MRS. SINK.
AS: Well, Rick, the people of Florida cannot trust you at all. You've just proven it right here and now, because you don't know what you're talking about. Your ads that have -- you're just repeating things that you are playing in your ads. I have never seen a governor's race like this in which a candidate can play ads full of such lies that newspapers and outside authority have said that every ad that you have played against me is full of smears, lies, it's full of deception, and none of this is true. And I'll just have to trust the people of Florida…
MAM: MRS. SINK.
AS: …to understand that that my opponent is lying.
MAM: OKAY. THANK YOU. IT'S 30 SECONDS, THANK YOU. PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTERRUPT YOU. I'M SURE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MORE TIME LATER ON TO GO OVER THIS TOPIC AGAIN. ANOTHER KEY ELEMENT OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WE'RE GOING THROUGH IN THE NATION IS THE HUGE NUMBER OF FORECLOSURES. SANDRA PEEBLES IS READY WITH A QUESTION ABOUT THIS. SANDRA?
SP: Fine. 14 percent of mortgages in our state are in foreclosure. If elected, what will you do to curb the rise in foreclosures and to assist those families who have already lost their homes or are in jeopardy of losing them? Let's start with you, Mr. Scott.
RS: We've got to get to the state back to work. I've got a seven-step plan, 700,000 jobs. It's basically we've got to do everything we can to get people back to work in this state. We've got to reduce their taxes. My opponent wants to raise your taxes. We've got to reduce property taxes. That's going to help our homeowners. We've got to reduce -- we've got to eliminate the business tax. We've got to put money back into our employer's pockets so they can hire more people to get people back to work. You've got to have a governor that's going to watch how they spend every dollar. My opponent's been the chief financial officer of the state for four years while we've gone into this crisis. In her timeframe we've lost over 800,000 jobs while she's been in office. Almost 50 percent of our homeowners are now under water on their mortgages as we were talking about. We have to elect somebody that knows how to build private sector jobs and get people moving back to this state. That's going to solve our housing crisis.
AS: Foreclosures have been a big issue in our state for three years. Unfortunately, Florida was the first in because we were subject to the many mortgage fraud abuses and the sub prime crisis. When I became aware three years ago of this looming crisis, as the chief financial officer, my authority is limited, but I don't stop there. I take -- I do take responsibility. And what I did was I approached the Florida Bar and asked their lawyers to get involved, and as a result they put together a program called Florida Attorneys Saving Homes, a thousand pro bono attorneys got to work helping hundreds of Florida families in their homes. But ultimately the answer is to put people back to work. To put people back to work in good paying jobs so that they can live a good lifestyle and support their families, and the only way that we're going to do it is to increase our economy, and I will personally work with the lending industry to be sure that they are giving homeowners in Florida a fair shake.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. MR. SCOTT, YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS.
RS: So my opponent [inaudible] Tallahassee insider. She's had her shot. She's been here four years. You know, look at what has happened in four years, unemployment at record levels. When she took office we were one of the lowest states in unemployment. Homeowners [are] under water in their mortgages. The state budget is in shambles. She is the so-called fiscal watchdog of the state in her words. We have got to go -- we've got to elect somebody that's a business person that knows how to create private sector jobs that going to get people back to work and who is going to help solve the mortgage crisis.
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC FOR OUR COMMUNITY IS OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE FOR OUR COMMUNITY. THE FIRST QUESTION ON EDUCATION WILL BE ASKED BY JOSE ALFONSO ALMORA, PLEASE.
JAA: Thank you. Earlier this year, Governor Charlie Crist vetoed a controversial Senate bill on merit pay for teachers. Both of you support merit-based pay for educators in our state. The question is how you would measure a teacher's success? Besides, how would you convince teachers and parents that this system in fact will improve learning in our schools? Mrs. Sink.
AS: Thank you. Senate Bill 6 was a very flawed piece of legislation, and I strongly opposed it. While it did have -- I support merit pay and performance pay. This legislation turned into nothing more than a Tallahassee bureaucrat and politicians taking over local control of our schools. I talked to local superintendents, teachers, parents, school board members. Almost all were opposed to the Senate Bill 6 which my opponent, Rick Scott, actually has said that he would sign it into law. When I become your governor, we will work together to form a performance pay plan that teachers and parents and school board members all agree is the right incentive plan for our teachers. And as a result, we will get better results for our students because we have one of the -- really, one of the worst high school graduation rates in this country. And I'm going to set a goal to improve our high school graduation rate.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. MR. SCOTT.
RS: My opponent's a Tallahassee insider. She's had her four years. Nothing's happened with regard to education. Our second daughter, 25, she teaches kids with special needs. She knows how hard it is for teachers. We need to come up with a measuring program that's fair to teachers, just like her, she's going to measure differently than other teachers, you know, somebody that doesn't have special needs kids. But it's got to be tied to how you move a child, an individual child, from this level to the next level. So it has to be achievement-based. We also have to make sure we have as much choice as possible. My opponent's education plan doesn't include the word choice. We've got to continue the things that Governor Bush did, the charter schools, virtual schools, the low-income scholarships, we've got to make sure we have as much choice as we can for each of our kids. This has to be a 100 percent tied to what's good for our children.
AS: Rick, I've got to go back to this charge you levy against me about being a Tallahassee insider. I'm not a career politician. I only ran for office once in my whole life and that was four years ago, because I wanted to take my 26 years of business experience right to Tallahassee to the office of chief financial officer to look out for the taxpayer money. And over the course of the four years, I found expenses to cut, and ways to run government more efficiently. But the most important thing is that I went [to] Tallahassee to serve. I know where to look. I have the experience. I'm going to be ready to start on day one as your governor. My opponent, on the other has no experience.
MAM: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. LET US GO IN DEPTH INTO THIS TOPIC. OUR STATE RANKS 36TH IN THE NATURE IN PER PUPIL FUNDING FOR EDUCATION. CHILDREN WILL BE OUR FUTURE LEADERS. AN INVESTMENT IN THEM TODAY WILL LIKELY REFLECT UPON OUR STATE IN THE FUTURE. AS GOVERNOR, WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENHANCE HISPANIC CHILDREN'S QUALITY OF LIFE, AND TO HELP THEM BECOME PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS OF THE STATE? MR. SCOTT.
RS: Well, we've got to make sure -- we have to start with the basic premise everything we do in education is how does it help the child? So when we do that we say to ourselves, how do we move the child each year along their path? As you know, we're doing horrible, especially for college preparedness. So we're going to start a program where we can measure students from the time they start a class to the time they end. And we'll make sure that we pay the teachers that do the best job in the effectiveness of moving those kids along; we're going to pay them the best. Also parents know what their children need. We're going to try to create as many options as possible, whether it’s charter schools, virtual schools. But they know what their children need. On top of that, we've got to create as many options for them, not saying every child is going to go to college. Some don't want to go to college, so let's make sure we have classes they care about to prepare them for a job right out [of] high school.
AS: We need to focus on all of our children, of course. But I -- let me speak specifically about our Hispanic students, because it's of a great concern to me that the Hispanic student graduation rate is lower than the average. And that means that we're not speaking in the right way or giving them hope for the future to stay in school and graduate. Because we know that the key to a stronger economy is a stronger education system. So I'll work specifically with communities in targeting the needs of our Hispanic students, but most importantly they need to understand that they have hope for the future. That they can continue their education after high school.
MAM: MR. SCOTT, 30 SECONDS.
RS: So my opponent, you know, thinks every child should go to the school that's right where -- the street they live on rather than having choice of going to whatever school is the best for them. We know that parents can figure that out much better than anybody else, so we've got to do everything we can to keep our kids in school by giving their parents as much choice as possible, and have them [in] a variety of programs whether it's charter schools, virtual schools, home schooling, anything, but choose the school they want.
MAM: THANK YOU, MR. SCOTT. FROM THE SMALLEST TO THE BIGGEST, LET US NOW LISTEN TO A QUESTION FROM ONE OF TELEVISION AUDIENCE MEMBERS.
AQ: Hello, my name is Raul. I am retired. I'm 71 years old, and one of my main concerns is that taxes, and taxes, and taxes are going up all the time. I can barely cover my needs, okay, with my retirement payment. The question I have for us is what are they going to propose in order to see how they can fix the financial status of the elderly, of people like me, so that we no longer face the problems we are dealing with right now?
MAM: THANK YOU FOR THAT QUESTION. MRS. SINK, WE SHALL START WITH YOU.
AS: Well, thank you. And the questioner asked the question so well that I hear very often, because in Florida we have a very high population of seniors. Many of them -- most of them live on fixed incomes, and with the rising rates particularly here in south Florida with property insurance, it's been very difficult, and it's been a struggle for our seniors. We have to have effective, affordable housing programs in this state. One of the things the legislature has done year after year is that they been raiding the affordable housing trust fund. As governor, I will not permit the legislature to raid the affordable housing trust fund because those are monies that are invested in providing adequate housing for our seniors. And we have to keep taxes low because we have to -- and that's -- we have to keep taxes low for all of our citizens. And I just want to go back and say that Rick Scott doesn't know much about my record, and so therefore he's just lying about my record. I never said -- there is not a single plan that I have…
MAM: ONE MINUTE.
AS: …that I am going to raise any taxes.
MAM: THANK YOU, MRS. SINK. GO AHEAD, MR. SCOTT.
RS: So, if you go to rickscottforflorida.com, you can see our plan. It's seven steps to 700,000 jobs. You know, we're going to phase out the business tax and we're going to cut property tax rates by 19 percent. In contrast -- taxes are a big problem. In contrast, my opponent has backed water tax increases, payroll tax increases, sales tax increases, property tax increases. On top of that, if you quantify, you know, all the promises she's made in this campaign, it's a $14 billion increase in our budget. That's $1,600 per household. So if you want to check that out, go to factsforflorida.com. So my goal is to reduce every tax and fee I can. I have specific goals to reduce tax in contrast because of promises my opponent has made, there is no way we can do anything other than raise taxes, and I'm completely against any tax increases, which we all know she's not.
MAM: GO AHEAD.
AS: Well, I can't wait to go to that website and see what you're talking about. I'm just stunned here. You know, we can't trust anything that Rick Scott says. He tells lies, and I think the people of Florida deserve a governor who will tell them the truth, and who won't tell lies about other people. This provides very serious issues, and when we get to the vote I hope all of our listeners understand that we cannot have a governor like Rick Scott who will stand up here and misrepresent and tell lies…
MAM: THANK YOU.
AS: …about his opponent.
MAM: THANK YOU.
AS: And have so little respect.
MAM: Thank you. There are currently 3.6 million people in Florida without any type of health coverage. Thirty-four percent of them are Hispanic. What hope can you offer Floridians struggling in this respect, and explain please how your idea is better than your opponent’s? And we’ll start with Mr. Scott.
RS: The first thing is we've got to get everybody a job and that's my plan. Seven steps to 700,000 jobs, you know, when you have a job that you [can] afford health insurance hopefully. On top of that, my whole life has been on how do you reduce healthcare costs. When I built Columbia/HCA, healthcare inflation went from 18 percent a year to two-tenths of one percent a year. And so if you look I helped start a walk-in doctor's office company. Well, if you go in with insurance, we’re one-sixth the cost of a similar visit to an ER. If you go without insurance it's one-tenth to one-fifthteenth. We try to do everything we can to drive down health insurance costs. The way you do is it, I put out last year when President Obama got elected I organized a group, Conservatives for Patients' Rights, website cprights.org. There are four pillars. You need a choice. You need more competition. You need your own health care policy. You reward people for taking care of themselves. That will drive healthcare costs down.
AS: Rick, this is really a sad situation we're in here this afternoon and tonight. Do you understand how many Floridians do have jobs out there but have no health insurance? Millions, millions and the reason is because they can't afford the premiums. I come across people all the time. One in four Floridians have no health insurance. It's a crisis. It's the biggest problem I hear from small businesses. You are out of touch with reality and the way Floridians are living here.
RS: You know my opponent does not have a plan to reduce healthcare costs. As matter of fact she supports President Obama's healthcare plan which we all know is both -- it's a disaster for patients. It's going to end up cutting $500 billion out of Medicare. It's going to ration care and it's going to bankrupt each of our states and our country. So you know, her plan is to, you know, she's an Obama liberal, is going to back all of Obama's policies, including his Healthcare bill.
MAM: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, LET US CONTINUE NOW WITH SANDRA PEEBLES. GO AHEAD SANDRA.
SP: An Appeals Court recently upheld a decision to strike down Florida's ban on gay adoptions. Mr. Scott, you are against same-sex partners adopting while you, Mrs. Sink, would allow gay couples to adopt. In the course of a four-year mandate you will be faced with a value-related decision on abortions, death penalty and gay rights. How do you convince Floridians that you are more suited than your opponent to make the best decisions on moral issues? Mrs. Sink, we will start with you.
AS: Well on the issue of adoptions I'm a mother. I have two children and I love the children of the State of Florida and believe that those who are in foster care deserve to have a loving permanent home. And my position from the very beginning has been that the judge and the social worker and the people closest to that child should make the best decision according to that child's circumstances. And as to the other issues, I've been a Floridian for 26 years. When I get to be the governor of our state I'm not there to represent anybody's interests but the people of Florida and I'm going to look out for the people of Florida and ensure that we have the best policies possible to take care of our children and ensure their success.
MAM: MR. SCOTT.
RS: Sure, with the question about gay adoptions, I believe in adoption. I'm going to put all my effort into making sure that couples, you know, married couples adopt our children. The, you know, we know that, and studies show that, children raised in a traditional family do better in school and in life. So that's my focus. Like probably most people I grew up going to church every Sunday. I grew up in the Methodist church. My wife grew up in the Baptist church. We're active church goers. My religion is very important to me. I'm going to use that background to try to make the best decisions I can every day on behalf of everybody in Florida. I believe in the traditional American family and I will do everything that I can to promote you know, families. And that's what I believe in and that's what I'll always do while I'm your governor.
MAM: MRS. SINK, 30 SECONDS, GO AHEAD.
AS: Well family values are extremely important to me as well. Although we have many different varieties of families here in Florida, we have many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and so my approach is going to be to respect every adult who is in a child's life because we have a lot of challenges here in this State of Florida and as we address those challenges and as your governor I will…
MAM: THANK YOU MRS. SINK, THANK YOU.
JAA: I'd like now to go to the internet. We have a question sent to us by one of our viewers to univision23.com. Her name is Amanda Montenegro and this is the question. It's going to be on [the] screen for you all. What have the candidates done in their private or public lives to help the Hispanic communities in the State of Florida? We'll start with you Mr. Scott.
RS: Well in the 1980s I bought my first hospital in Miami, Victoria Hospital and at the time it was struggling financially. And with the support of a lot of great physicians and a lot of great employees we turned that around. Over the years we added Kendall, Deering, Cedars, Miami Heart, St. Francis and Aventura. So I've spent a lot of time in [the] Miami community, in the healthcare community. On top of that I've invested in Hispanic businesses. A company named Imedia, which is sort of like a Paypal for people transferring money from the Americas, all across America. And finally I've invested in another Hispanic company it creates Hispanic jobs, or jobs for Hispanics called “Que Pasa.” You know all these things because I mean I've been very fortunate with my relationships in the Miami market in meeting Hispanics and building businesses with them.
MAM: THANK YOU MR. SCOTT. MRS. SINK, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR HISPANICS?
AS: Well I came to, the way I got to Florida was right here in Miami. I moved here 26 years ago. I started the first Hispanic marketing department of our company. We had the first Hispanic entrepreneur of the year award, Armundo Cadena. But in later years as I went up the ladder of my banking company our focus was on figuring out how to make small business loans to Hispanic-owned businesses and also giving preference to Hispanic-owned businesses who wanted to do business with our company. And just recently I've been very fortunate in my life and I have been able to fund a Hispanic scholarship for two young women, first time in college at the University of South Florida. But the most important thing is as governor there will be Hispanic representation in my administration and when I make my appointments I'm going to be sure that my appointments are reflective of the population of Florida and as you said 13 to 18 percent of Floridians are Hispanic. They'll be well represented.
MAM: THANK YOU, GO ON MR. SCOTT.
RS: Well I'm real honored today that Governor Bush is here supporting me. I'm real honored that Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and a lot of other community leaders in the city are supporting me. I'm very comfortable that I've built great relationships here. But I'm also very comfortable that they will make sure that I know the issues that are impacting the Hispanic community and I do the right thing. And I clearly am committed to having diversity in my administration and doing the right thing.
MAM: THANK YOU MR. SCOTT. WE ARE APPROACHING. WE'RE APPROACHING THE END OF THIS DEBATE AND FOR THE FOLLOWING QUESTION THERE WILL BE NO REBUTTAL. PLEASE NAME, EACH ONE OF YOU, TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF HISPANIC CULTURE THAT YOU ADMIRE OR WITH WHICH YOU IDENTIFY THE BEST AND TELL US WHY. AND WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTION HISPANICS HAVE MADE IN OUR STATE? GO AHEAD MRS. SINK.
AS: Well the first thing that comes to mind about the Hispanic culture is the, is the willingness to share emotion and to express feelings and to show love with one another. And I have many Hispanic friends here in Florida. And I could name so many things that – I have to say food because living for five years here in Miami and then the remainder of the time in Tampa there's nothing I like better than going into Ybor City and eating my deviled crab and my Cuban sandwiches and my Spanish bean soup. And in terms of contributions, oh my word, the contributions of Hispanics, all over the State of Florida. We can start with St. Augustine. We can talk about Miami of course. The long tradition of history and Ybor City and then Tampa which is my home, it's amazing and that's the power…
MAM: THANK YOU.
AS: And that's the power of Florida is our diversity.
MAM: THANK YOU MRS. SINK, MR. SCOTT?
RS: The two that I would think about is first their unbelievable commitment to family. And I have many friends in Miami. It seems like many times that they're all related because if I say, you know, I know someone. They say well that's my second or third or fourth cousin, whatever, but they all, they're very, very committed to their families. The second thing which I really admire and that's what I'm trying to do, my wife and I are trying to do it with our daughters is have the same sort of family. The second would be their unbelievable hard work. As we know many Hispanics have come here just in the last 50 years and they have just shown everyone their unbelievable work ethic. You can see it in the businesses they've built but you know. And I guess the thing that's the biggest impact is just you know you can look at, you can look at Miami's probably the best example but you can just look at how great this city is and the diversity of the city, the vibrance of this city and you will have to admire what's happened since more Hispanics came.
MAM: THANK YOU, THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR ANSWERS. AS YOU MAY REALIZE WE ARE ALMOST AT THE END OF THIS DEBATE AND NOW BOTH MRS. SINK AND MR. SCOTT WILL HAVE A MINUTE AND A HALF, 90 SECONDS, FOR A CLOSING STATEMENT. WE START WITH MR. SCOTT. GO AHEAD MR. SCOTT.
RS: Gracias a Univision por presentar este debate, y gracias a los televidentes que están viendo este programa en sus hogares. [Thanks to Univision for hosting this debate, and thank you to the viewers watching this program in their homes]
Citizens you have a clear choice. Your choice is a Tallahassee insider, somebody that backs Obama's principles, believes President Obama's got the right answers for our state and our country which we all know is wrong. We have someone that's started from going to public schools, starting with no money in public housing and has had a lot of life, great life experiences. Our state's in a mess, unbelievable unemployment, almost 50 percent of our homeowners under water on their mortgages and the state budget in shambles. We clearly need new ideas and we need somebody that has a proven record of success. I'm not a politician, I'm a successful business person and I'm an outsider. I built businesses from scratch starting with my own money. I've cut costs, I've balanced budgets and I've held people accountable and I've created private sector jobs. I have a detailed plan, seven steps to 700,000 jobs. I'll watch how we spend every dollar. I'll cut costs. I'll balance the budget. I'll get the state back to work. I hope all of you will support me in this election, juntos vamos a poner la Florida a trabajar [together we’ll put Florida to work], sorry.
MAM: THANK YOU MR. SCOTT, GO AHEAD MRS. SINK, 90 SECONDS.
AS: Thank you, thank you to Univision and to our panelists, the audience and most importantly to the viewers at home for listening to this very important debate. Because we have enormous challenges in Florida, you've heard a lot of talk tonight but what's really important is that we have to get our economy turned around. We have to put people back to work. We must build a stronger education system for our young people and we have to make government work for people. So on November the 2nd or by November the 2nd you will cast a vote to decide which one of us has the character and the integrity to lead our state forward. My opponent has a questionable business background. He says he wants to bring his business experience to Tallahassee. I can't think of anything more frightening. He led a company with the most massive Medicare fraud, cheating seniors and taxpayers. He won't answer questions. He hasn't appeared before editorial boards and you've heard tonight he has no hesitation to just tell any lies that he can think of. So I'm asking you here tonight if you want a stronger economy come with me. If you want local decision-making for your schools, then come with me. If you want a government that represents honesty and integrity then please, come with me because we have an important decision to make about who we trust to lead our state in the future.
MAM: THANK YOU, THANK YOU MRS. SINK FOR YOUR RESPONSE. SO WE HAVE NOW FINISHED THIS HISTORIC DEBATE IN SPANISH BETWEEN THE TWO CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR FOR THE STATE OF FLORIDA. WE THANK MRS. ALEX SINK, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US. MR. SCOTT, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US. FOR HAVING PARTICIPATED IN THIS DEBATE WE ALSO WANT TO THANK YOU ALSO, OUR PANELISTS, SANDRA PEEBLES, JOSE ALFONSO ALMORA THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US. AND ALSO, TO ALL OF OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS ACROSS THE STATE FOR JOINING US TONIGHT. WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REMIND YOU THAT EVERY VOTE COUNTS AND YOU MAY SEE US AT UNIVISION.COM EVERY VOTE COUNTS, GOODNIGHT, THANK YOU.