Outgoing Governor Rick Scott says it’s the “right thing” to complete his full term as governor and delay his swearing in as a United States Senator. The end of Gov. Scott’s administration overlaps with his first term in the Senate by five days. While new U.S. Senators were sworn-in this past Thursday, Scott will wait until his second term as governor comes to an end Tuesday. “I’m not going to get ahead because I’ve been in office for 5 more days,” Gov. Scott said. “I’ll get stuff done by having better ideas, working harder and building better relationships.”
In an exclusive interview with FLA News, Gov. Scott acknowledged the differences between governing in Tallahassee and Washington. When he is sworn in to the Senate next week, Scott will serve in a divided Congress that is in the midst of a partial government shutdown. That’s a far cry from running the nation’s third largest state, which is controlled by Republicans. Scott knows of the challenge ahead.
“I’m optimistic. You have to find common ground,” said Gov. Scott. “I think everybody knows we have to have border security, so I don’t know why we’re fighting about that. I think everybody knows our federal government ought to work, so we shouldn’t be shutting down the federal government. I’m going to do my part to get people to act in the best interest of the citizens of this country, instead of trying to figure out who’s going to win the next election.”
As Scott’s term as governor ends, he leaves a state that is in a much better financial position than he found it. Florida has recovered from the great global depression, and the state’s finances are better prepared to weather any further economic slowdown.
“We said we would get 700,000 jobs over seven years and right now we’re close to 1.7 million,” said Gov. Scott. “We’ve cut $10 billion in taxes, we’ve paid off $10 billion in debt.”
Scott also noted advances in higher education, high school graduation and record funding for transportation and the environment. But when Scott was asked about his greatest accomplishment these past eight years, it wasn’t the programs or the jobs created. It was the team that made up the Scott administration.
“Your biggest legacy is all the young people who came to work with you that are going to continue to be important in this state over the next 40 years. That’s the biggest impact I have. It was this whole team that worked their butt’s off for the past eight years.”