Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Miami Thursday, May 19, for World Trade Week 2011. Following his presentation of a World Trade Week Proclamation at the Miami Free Zone’s “Breaking Down Barriers to International Trade” Forum he made a quick exit during Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll’s remarks. Just before exiting the building he caught up with what his press secretary described as a “media gaggle” to answer a few questions.
When pressed by reporters about the effects his cuts are already having on early election voting he said he wants people to vote; making a vague reference to 9th Grade Civics classes. Governor Scott declared it was Miami-Dade that made the decision to eliminate Sunday voting and concluded by adding “when you’re governor it’s not like you have every choice out there so what you have is bills that are passed by the legislature and you have to sign or not sign. You only have a certain amount of time to do it so my option here was either sign or not sign and I had to do it by Saturday so I did sign.”
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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FROM INTERVIEW WITH GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT:
Q: Floridians like to work but we also like to play, the Everglades is burning again due to the current drought. How do you expect to fix the problem politicians and environmentalists have been grappling with for nearly half a century when you have cut the 200 million dollar budget for Everglades Restoration by 180 million dollars?
GRS: I live in Naples, spend a lot of time in the Everglades, like going fishing and I know how important the Everglades is and that we do everything we can to preserve the Everglades. What I am making sure is that in our budget we have available money to make sure to put into Everglades water restoration and spend it as well as possible. I’m very focused on the individual’s that work in the water management district. I’m going to make sure we spend the money wisely.
Q: How can we do that with a 180 million dollar budget cut that will eviscerate the 40 Year Everglades Restoration Plan?
GRS: I feel that the dollars that were allocated to the Everglades if we spend those dollars efficiently we will be able to have a very positive impact on both our water quality and preserving the environment.
Q: When one out of five homes in Florida is vacant and the same is true for commercial properties according to former Senator Bob Graham, how will easing concurrency requirements by making it simpler for developers to build new projects in Florida help us address this existing problem before we potentially add to those numbers with new developments?
GRS: The key to make sure with regard to development in our great state is the fact that our local counties know exactly what they need. We don’t need someone in Tallahassee making decisions that should be made locally. As we all know the more local the government is the better the government so what I want to make sure is that we get the power to our local governments to decide how they would like the city developed. The real key right now is getting out state back to work so we need to make sure Florida is the first place people think of to do business. Whether that is in agriculture, manufacturing, shipping, my focus is to make sure we are fair to business people and create an environment where they can get a great return on their investments and we take care of our environment.
Q: Although you came into this campaign with a no compromise style position you called your first legislative session a success. Since consensus building decisions on bills were made this year in collaboration with republicans and democrats, do you now have a new appreciation for the benefits of consensus building?
GRS: I started at the state meeting with members of the house and senate with both republicans and democrats to make sure I understood what concerns they have. Throughout the session since I’ve been in office from January 4th I’ve been meeting with both republicans and democrats to understand what they’re concerns are. Everybody, whether you’re Republican or Democrat knows the biggest issue we have in our state is jobs so I’ve worked with everyone to make sure legislation we passed helps put our state back to work.