Gov. Scott talks unemployment, FAU ‘Jesus’ exercise at Post editorial boardby Andrew Abramson | April 8th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott spent an hour this morning meeting with The Palm Beach Post editorial board.
- Scott touted the state’s shrinking unemployment numbers and credited it to his administration. Scott said unemployment rose from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent in the four years before he took office and is now at 7.7 percent, which he said is around the national average.
- Scott defended his decision to intervene in the issue regarding FAU professor Deandre Poole’s class exercise that had students voluntarily step on a piece of paper with Jesus’ name on it as a lesson in the power of symbols. A student said he was asked not to return to class after refusing to do the exercise and Scott then said he would look into the suspension. Poole, also the Democratic county vice chairman, later said the student was disciplined only because he physically threatened the professor.
“I heard about what happened to the student and I was concerned about the student,” Scott said. “When something like that happens we ought to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I was primarily concerned about how the student was suspended. … From my understanding it didn’t make any sense that he’d be suspended based on what I read. I asked for an inquiry. I asked Chancellor Brogan to look into it. I don’t want this to keep happening at our universities.”
Scott said “I don’t think people ought to be stomping on the name Jesus” but said later that classroom lessons are “their (the universities) decisions, not mine.”
- Scott said that Obamacare is now “the law of the land.”
“The Supreme Court upheld it, Gov. Romney lost the election … It’s the law of the land. The federal government is going to pay 100 percent and I can’t in good conscience deny people who don’t have healthcare access.”
- Scott defended teacher evaluations for merit pay.
“I believe in evaluations,” he said. “I’ve been in business and I know when you measure things they improve … All evaluation systems improve over time, it’s no different than in business. We want to have our students have achievement and make sure they have a better chance of living their dreams through a better education system.”
Scott repeatedly said that his biggest priorities this year are jobs and increasing teacher pay. He wants a $2,500 raise for every teacher. Scott said his new budget has an additional $1.2 billion for education. He said he is not flip-flopping despite slashing the education budget when he took office.
“I walked in with a $3.7 billion deficit and I had to balance the budget,” Scott said. “The state is increasing borrowing every year and we are at-risk for downgraded credit ratings. I was willing to make tough choices and it worked.”
- After The Post reported issues with Citizens Insurance doing unnecessary inspections and overcharging homeowners, Scott partly blamed the insurance board and said he’s only made two of the eight board appointments.
Scott said “they’ve given outlandish raises”, issued expense reports that included reimbursement for alcohol and gotten rid of the integrity unit.
“I’ve asked they review to make sure all those inspections are proper,” Scott said.
- On texting and driving, Scott wouldn’t go as far to say he favors a ban, instead saying there “are a bunch of different proposals” that need to be looked at closely.
After some prodding, Scott said “I don’t believe people ought to be texting and driving.”
- Scott called himself “a strong supporter of the second amendment” and said that armed guards should be up to individual school districts. If the state requires armed guards at schools, the state should pay for it, he said.
- Scott said a path to citizenship should only be considered after the federal government figures out how to secure borders and creates an immigration policy “that doesn’t put our employers at an economic at an economic disadvantage to employers around the country and a visa program that doesn’t hurt our companies.”
Tags: Rick Scott