Saturday, May 26, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott's video touts economic growth, lower jobless rate

Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a high-quality campaign video on his Facebook page Monday called "first time." (Nope, not like Lena Dunham cheekily describing her first time voting for Barack Obama.)

"This is the first time in five years that our unemployment rate has been below the national average," Scott says, "but we're not stopping there."

In the ad, Scott repeats talking points about the poor shape of the economy "in the four years before I became governor" (listening, Charlie Crist?), compared to the state's private-sector growth and declining unemployment rate since he took office.

The scene: A March 18 news conference at Mitsubishi Power Systems in Orlando, where Scott is surrounded by a crew of approving employees in T-shirts and safety goggles as he talks about jobs gains. The unnamed facility manager says "it's unbelievable" how much better shape the state is in these days, and that he has hired 150 new employees. Another man says, "The governor really gets it."

Gone is Scott's 2010 mantra, "Let's get to work." Scott's new slogan is "It's working." The video is hosted at ItsWorkingFlorida.com and paid for by his political committee, Let's Get to Work.

Focus on teacher pay, tax cut

Gov. Scott still isn't saying whether he'll support legislation banning Internet sweepstakes cafes in Florida.

Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Monday afternoon, Scott said he is waiting to see what the Legislature does before taking a position.

Scott, who took questions for an hour, remained hyper-focused on his two priorities: giving public school teachers a $2,500 pay raise and cutting a sales tax for manufacturers. He also sounded less partisan, talking up relationships with President Obama's Cabinet, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "Arne," as Scott referred to him, called to recommend Tony Bennett as Scott's new education commissioner. Other notes:

Scott made a point to single out what a great job Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, is doing. Twice. He didn't mention Republican St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.

On Friday's big Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast basketball game: "I'd like both those teams to win."

On gay marriage: Scott wouldn't say if he supported a 2008 Florida constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and wouldn't say if he supports the ban now. "It's in the Constitution."

Senate plans for Dozier project

The Florida Senate's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $200,000 to help University of South Florida researchers identify gravesites on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

"This funding is crucial to helping USF analyze the cemetery at the former school," Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said in a news release.

The Florida House also said it will fully fund USF's request, which was for $190,000. And U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has identified a federal grant program that could also assist with the Dozier investigation.

The federal program, run by the Department of Justice, allocates up to $3 million to universities and nonprofits that wish to exhume bodies and identify missing people using DNA technology.

Greer to be sentenced today

Former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer will be sentenced Wednesday in Orlando after pleading guilty last month to theft and money laundering charges that could put him behind bars for 3 ½ years.

Times staff writers Aaron Sharockman and Tia Mitchell contributed.

Comments
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

WASHINGTON — A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a s...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18