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Candidates for Florida governor

The contest for governor of Florida is one of the most interesting races in the country and has national implications for the battle for the White House in 2012. Republicans have held the office for 12 years and hope to extend their control with Rick Scott, the surprise nominee shunned by much of the party's establishment in the GOP primary. Democrats hope to regain the Governor's Mansion behind Alex Sink, a former bank executive who's the state's elected chief financial officer. Given the heightened interest in alternative candidates, the Times has broadened the scope of the voter's guide for statewide races to include all candidates who raise a minimum of $20,000 in campaign contributions. In addition to the candidates below, voters will also find the following names on the ballot: Independence Party candidate Peter Allen, of Riverview (, and no party candidates Daniel Imperato, of West Palm Beach (, and C.C. Reed, of Miami (

About the job: The governor is the state's most influential elected official, overseeing state agencies, appointing judges to the courts and thousands of appointees to state boards. The governor signs death warrants, serves as commander in chief of the state's military forces and has line-item veto power over spending decisions by the Legislature. The annual salary is $130,273.

More about these candidates

Rick Scott, 57

Health care executive
R Alex Sink, 62

Chief financial officer
D Michael E. Arth, 57

Artist, urban designer
NPA Farid Khavari, 67

Experience Beginning with his acquisitions of two hospitals in El Paso, Texas, Scott rose to the apex of the business world as chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA Corp., a hospital giant that became the nation's biggest private, for-profit health care provider. While success made Scott rich and famous, it extracted a price. He left the company amid a federal investigation, and it later paid $1.7 billion in fines for Medicare fraud. He was not charged with wrongdoing in the case. Scott is running for governor as a proven job-creator in a time of near-record unemployment in Florida.

After more than a quarter-century as a banking executive, in which she rose to be president of the state's largest bank, Sink ran for the statewide elected post of chief financial officer in 2006 and won the Cabinet position. The Thonotosassa resident became only the second Democrat to win statewide office in Florida in the past decade and is the first Democratic candidate for governor in Florida in decades to have such a lengthy background in business and such a brief political resume.

Arth has 30-plus years of experience in art, construction, development, urban design and policy analysis. He has been a community developer who designed and revived downtown DeLand's historic Garden District, buying and rebuilding 32 houses in an area formerly known as "Cracktown." He estimates he has employed more than 100 people in the Volusia County redevelopment venture. He also runs a production firm creating a documentary about the 2010 governor's race.

Khavari, a native of Iran, has lived in the United States since 1977. He is an economist and author of several books, including Oil & Islam: The Ticking Bomb (1990). On his campaign website, he cites as major influences in his life Mohandas Gandhi, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Anwar Sadat and Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, "the most decent U.S. president."
Education Bachelor's degree, University of Missouri Kansas City; juris doctor, Southern Methodist University.

Bachelor's degree, Wake Forest University. High school graduate, some college at the University of Texas, UCLA, University of Vienna, Alliance Francaise. Master's degree, University of Hamburg (Germany), 1973; doctorate in economics, University of Bremen (Germany) 1976.
What is the most pressing problem facing Florida today? Jobs. Florida has lost a larger percentage of its jobs since the 2007 peak than the rest of the country, and its level of economic decline is worse than the national average. By cutting regulation and taxes, he claims he can create 700,000 jobs over seven years. The immediate task at hand is creating and saving jobs. Sink has a three-pronged strategy for doing that, starting with initiatives to stabilize and expand small businesses. Sink calls it her "Business Plan to Revitalize Our Economy and Put Floridians Back to Work." The need for electoral reform, law enforcement, the environment, energy, economics and development, and the need to restore power to the people. "Power currently resides in the special interests and the financial elite." "Work and jobs. We have to create jobs and get rid of all the foreclosed homes, even if we have to give them to people. More foreclosed homes creates more unemployment."
Do you support or oppose Amendment 4, the Hometown Democracy growth management proposal? "Rick Scott opposes constitutional Amendment 4. The amendment would kill jobs and, like the Department of Community Affairs, it would slow down everything."

Sink's campaign describes her as "strongly and firmly opposed to Amendment 4." Arth supports Amendment 4. "I support citizen's efforts to approve changes in the comprehensive plan for their town or county. … Sprawl and automobile-oriented growth should give way to higher-density, pedestrian and nature-oriented communities." Opposes. "Right now we have to do everything to create jobs and stimulate the economy," he said.

Lawyers would get involved and slow down that process, and this issue is something that could be addressed later, he said.
How would you change the tax system in Florida? Eliminate the corporate income tax paid by Florida businesses over seven years and reduce property taxes by 19 percent by rolling back state and local spending to 2004 levels. Offer targeted tax cuts such as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against payroll taxes for businesses that create 20 new jobs over three years. Offer tax credits for R&D of new products and incentives for businesses that create jobs. Florida, like North Dakota, should create a state-run bank "that helps the people instead of private corporations." Money should be "spent into existence instead of loaned into existence in our debt-based monetary system." He would abolish all property taxes and create a publicly owned state bank that would provide low-cost financing to Florida residents.
Assets Naples home, $8.8 million. Blind trust, retirement accounts and two homes, $10.9 million. Various DeLand properties, $725,000. Salary, Surme Salon & Spa, $6,000.
Liabilities None. Two mortgages and two letters of credit, $848,662. Loans for rental and business properties, $736,745. 7300 Investment LLC, $601,000.
Income Investment income, $8,280,298. State salary, interest and dividends, $274,538. Wife's salary, $32,000. Salary, $6,000.
Personal Married, two children. Married, two children. Married, one child. Married, two children.

Candidates for Florida governor 10/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 5:26pm]
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