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A walk with Reagan, his yellow lab, precedes Scott's first inaugural events

Gov.-elect Rick Scott started two days of inaugural events Monday at the Governor's Mansion where he'll live the next four years, and where his family photos are already displayed.

Scott got a sense of what it will be like, having spent the night there, and riding to his first inaugural celebration event, a Salute to Women in Leadership breakfast in a motorcade after greeting FDLE agents assigned to him.

Scott got going in the early morning hours with a walk with his yellow lab, Reagan, on the mansion grounds.

Guests of honor at the breakfast that drew about 300 people were Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll and Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi.

"This is the beginning. We are going to turn this state around," Scott said at the FSU Alumni Center. "We are also going to make this a place where it doesn't matter if you are male or female, if you are black or white, you have every opportunity to do what you want to do."

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren was the keynote speaker and urged bipartisanship.

"You can roll over the Democrats and get whatever you want, but you know that you aren't going to achieve what you want," she said. "You can either mimic Washington and this ridiculous gridlock we've had, or you can show up Washington."

Luncheon welcomes incoming first lady

Later Monday, about 300 invitees crowded the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science to honor incoming first lady Ann Scott at a luncheon featuring a half-dozen longtime friends of Florida's soon-to-be-first couple.

The catering was handled by D.C. restaurant owner Art Smith, a Florida State University grad who cooked for former Gov. Bob Graham when he was in the Governor's Mansion.

Scott lauded his wife: "When you build a company, you get a lot of accolades, when you run for office, you get a lot of accolades. But your wife never does."

He thanked her for agreeing to date him in high school, get married and launch a life that included travels while he was in the Navy, and the hardscrabble starting of businesses and, eventually, a campaign for governor.

Ann was equally appreciative. She said she owed her husband for "making me challenge myself every day, doing things I never thought I could do, including standing up here and speaking to you."

Music, yes, just don't ask Scott to dance

Continuing the celebration, Scott joined military personnel for a concert featuring largely country music artists. On tap, of course, was Lee Greenwood, famous for God Bless the USA.

"I love music that reminds me of the greatness of our country," Scott said before Greenwood's anthemic hit. Scott pledged to maintain a commitment to the military: "The entire time we're going to be in office we're going to make sure the military is respected and honored and they get the benefits they deserve. And we're going to do everything we can to help military families."

Carroll said she served 20 years in the Navy and Scott served four. "He does not outrank me. Until tomorrow," she joked.

By the way, Scott can't dance. That was the news from a Monday night inaugural youth concert. After a show from R&B group Dru Hill, Scott and Carroll addressed the crowd of about 350. Carroll boasted she could probably "get down" to Dru Hill, though her partner could not.

"You want to see a dance-off challenge with Rick Scott and Jennifer Carroll?" she asked. The crowd cheered, but there was no contest. "I can't dance, I really can't," Scott said. "I had to dance at my daughters' weddings, and I didn't trip, so that was good."

Times/Herald staff writers Janet Zink and Katie Sanders contributed to this report, which also uses information from the News Service of Florida.

A walk with Reagan, his yellow lab, precedes Scott's first inaugural events 01/03/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 11:34pm]
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