As governor, Rick Scott has failed Florida’s middle class while enriching himself and his cronies — but count on him to say or do anything in his desperate attempt to win Florida’s U.S. Senate race.
“Rick Scott has spent seven years ignoring Florida’s middle class, while enriching himself and his political cronies by millions of dollars. Rick Scott is a wealthy political insider who only looks out for himself, and you can count on Floridians to reject him this November,” said American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp.
Here are three things you need to know about Rick Scott: Scott will do anything to enrich himself and his cronies, he has failed Florida’s middle class, and he will say or do anything to win higher office.
1) Scott will do anything to enrich himself and his cronies.
Rick Scott’s net worth has increased from $103 million when he took office to $149 million in 2017, a 30% increase while his money in a supposedly “blind trust” run by a close personal friend and former employee.
Rick Scott has a pattern of appointing wealthy cronies or inexperienced political loyalists to top jobs.
- Scott appointed Wesley Maul, his 30-year-old former personal aide (a/k/a coffee boy) to run Florida’s Department of Emergency Services.
- Scott appointed Jimmy Patronis, a close ally, to be Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, a “a lucrative prize for loyalty that casts new light on Patronis’ pro-business votes as a legislator and his support for higher electricity costs as a regulator.”
- Scott appointed longtime friend and political ally Carlos Beruff, and his policy director Jeff Woodburn to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.
- Scott appointed Republican operative Noah Valenstein to head the Department of Environmental Protection, without interviewing anybody else.
- Rick Scott appointed his close friend Tom Grady, who had no education experience and a history of questionable spending, to the State Board of Education.
Rick Scott’s conflicts of interest with Florida state business are legendary.
- After he backed oil drilling in the Everglades, it emerged he is invested in a company that that wants to drill in the Everglades.
- Scott pushed a Medicaid privatization bill that could have steered contracts to a health care company he owned.
- Scott had a stake in a pipeline firm whose $3 billion natural gas pipeline through Florida he and his appointees shepherded through regulatory hurdles.
- Scott pushed millions in grants for cancer-treatment centers, while holding in an investment fund that had a controlling interest in 21st Century Oncology.
- Scott personally owned stock in an Irish health care products company, while approving over $825,000 in tax rebates for that company.
- Scott had an investment in Williams Companies, who had sought developers for swatch of land in Polk County around Florida Polytechnic, a university created by a bill Rick Scott signed.
2) Scott has failed Florida’s middle class.
Less than half of Florida’s counties have seen job growth since the recession. Fully 36 counties out of 67 have fewer jobs today than they did at the beginning of 2008. Meanwhile, “new jobs are paying workers significantly less than the jobs they replaced.”
- Under Rick Scott, hundreds of thousands of people have dropped out of Florida’s workforce. “The economy looks like we’re close to operating at full employment, when we really aren’t,” said Florida’s chief economist.
- Rick Scott failed to deliver on 96% of his jobs promises, a comprehensive investigation by the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times revealed in 2014.
Rick Scott prioritized a corporate slush fund over help for the middle class. Rick Scott used Enterprise Florida as slush fund to hand out taxpayer-financed financial incentives to donors, cronies, outsources, and corrupt companies.
- Republicans called Enterprise Florida “corporate welfare” and accused the governor of “picking winners and losers.”
- Scott appointed cronies to the board of directors of Enterprise Florida, including several former staffers and campaign operatives. Enterprise Florida regularly awarded itself and CEO with high bonuses.
- Enterprise Florida was a highly ineffective tool for job creation. Most deals never panned out or were terminated. Florida’s own state economist said the majority of incentives programs lost money, and Enterprise Floridarewarded big companies with incentives for jobs that would have already likely been created.
3) Scott is a proven liar who will say or do anything to win elected office.
Rick Scott has a record of flip-flopping on the issues whenever it suits his immediate political needs.
- Guns: Scott signed gun laws that made Floridians less safe and enabled future tragedies, while doing nothing after several mass shootings. Then, in 2018, he flipped, endorsing a weak gun reform bill not supported by the Parkland students and that “falls shorts” of what Floridians demanded.
- Offshore Oil Drilling: Scott endorsed offshore oil drilling on the campaign trail in 2010, only to reverse himself in the lead-up to his Senate bid.
- Medicaid Expansion: Scott opposed Medicaid expansion, then endorsed it before his 2014 reelection bid, but failed to advocate for it in the legislature. Following his reelection, he flipped back to opposing it.
- Immigration: Scott made anti-immigration policies the “centerpiece” of his first gubernatorial campaign, and then vetoed bipartisan legislation to grant licenses to young, undocumented immigrants in 2013. However in 2018, Scott suddenly voiced support for DACA.
During Hurricane Irma, Rick Scott gave Florida’s nursing homes his personal cell phone number as a publicity stunt – then let over 100 phone calls go straight to voicemail, including calls from a nursing home where 14 seniors died. Rick Scott then deleted the messages related to the nursing home deaths.