The Business of Being Governor
Interview with Florida's Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott met with FLORIDA TREND last month. Following are quotes from the interview.
On what drives his sense of mission:
My father was a truck driver. My parents struggled their whole life. I got breaks. I worked hard. I got an education. I got to build companies and basically lived the dream that we all think about. .... But if you come from that background, you see where the country should be going. ... At the federal level, the state level, the county level, money is being squandered, and there is a day of reckoning. And so my concern is that if we don't have people that really believe in the free market, who really believe in the America that I grew up in, you know, we're not going to have any job creation.
On the most important thing he's learned about state government?
It's not been different than what I thought. It's like business. You need to surround yourself with really smart people that want to work very hard. You have to be very disciplined. You have to stay focused on what you believe in. You have to measure everything.
On creating jobs:
I look at jobs — it's what I called the axis of unemployment, it's taxation, litigation, regulation. So how do I make sure there are some logical regulations, but how do we not have regulations that are a job-killer? That's one. Two, how do we make sure that we spend the dollars as well as we can. Three, taxes. Make sure they're fair. And then four, let's make sure we have lawsuit reform so we eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
On economic initiatives targeting specific industries:
[Photo: Jon M. Fletcher]
I want to diversify our economy, but I want to look at returns. I like new projects. That's what I've done with my life, I've built companies. But I do know that if you want to have long-term success, don't waste dollars. Get a return for the taxpayers.
What the state's funding for education, we'll keep funding. My goal is through measurement to try and get that money spent better. The other thing on education is I'm going to do what I can to continue to allow good growth of charter schools. I just want to create more competition.
I'm going to expand managed care in Medicaid because I think the state's not a good buyer of services. I think third parties who are in that business can do a better job of making sure that the money is spent well, so I'm going to be doing that, but there's no really big cuts.
On his management style and running state government:
I'm not going to spread myself thin by doing, by having 100 different priorities. My priority is education and jobs.
You don't get anything done yourself. You get things done with other people. I know that my success will be tied to if we have great people in state government that believe in what I believe in. You've got to make sure that people understand why you're doing it.
People in government work very hard. The processes that we have set up, the limitations that we put on people working in state government, don't make sense. I think we create the wrong incentives.