Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panhandle crowd greets Gov. Scott with catcalls

PENSACOLA — Gov. Rick Scott arrived in this Panhandle city Friday night to the catcalls of more than 150 teachers, union members and Democratic activists protesting his policies.

Inside the New World Landing banquet hall, Scott hit on familiar policy themes of creating jobs, freezing state regulations, dismantling the growth management agency and rejecting $2.4 billion in high speed rail money from Washington.

"I got elected to represent you, the taxpayers of the state. It's not fair to you," Scott said of the rail project. "They're putting pressure on me. (Vice President) Joe Biden complained about me this week."

The crowd at the Escambia County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day dinner applauded when Scott said teachers will be paid based on merit and ability, not seniority, and said he will expand charter schools and abolish sinkhole insurance.

"We're stopping all those things," Scott said.

He said he's "shocked by how many people are in the Capitol every day."

He said it makes no sense to provide more affordable housing when the state's real estate market has collapsed. "They wanted me to fund more affordable housing. The whole state's on sale," Scott said.

Outside, the sign-waving protesters were upset with proposed cuts to public schools and proposed changes to public employees' pension plans.

They ridiculed Scott as being beholden to rich Floridians. One woman carried a hand-lettered sign that said F(D) CAT stands for "Florida doesn't care about teachers."

"It's just wrong to balance a budget on the backs of people who need the most," said Ida Nissen, 74, a retired Pensacola teacher. "I think they ought to put more taxes on people who can afford them. We've got a lot of billionaires in this state."

Rhonda Chavers, leader of the nearby Santa Rosa County teachers union, said Scott's narrow victory over Democrat Alex Sink should have compelled him to try to unite Floridians.

"We're very disappointed in his lack of response to unite the state," Chavers said.

Scott had no comment on the protesters, but the local Republican Party chairman didn't seem to mind: "It's a good party when you get protested," Susan Moore said.

State Rep. Doug Broxson of Milton called Scott the most apolitical person he's ever met," who's willing to do what's right even though it means peril to his personal reputation."

Not everyone was so effusive.

David Morgan, the county's Republican sheriff, said Scott needs to do a better job of explaining his policies to Floridians.

"Any time you change things, you have to articulate a plan," Morgan said, "and some of his plans and programs haven't been well articulated."

Scott ended his half-hour speech on an upbeat note, saying Republicans need to remember that the main reasons they won last year is because they favor lower taxes and smaller government.

"This is absolutely the best time to be governor," Scott said.

Panhandle crowd greets Gov. Scott with catcalls 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  2. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.
  3. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  4. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  5. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]