Scott uses State of the State to sound his campaign themesby John Kennedy | March 4th, 2014
In a State of the State speech colored by themes from his re-election campaign, Gov. Rick Scott opened the 2014 Legislature telling lawmakers that the state has clawed back from the depths of the recession but plenty of rebuilding lies ahead.
Scott’s 31-minute address to a joint session of the Legislature reflected on the skyrocketing unemployment, multi-billion dollar budget shortfall and housing crisis he faced when taking office three years ago.
He didn’t directly blame his predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist. But Scott made it clear that Crist, now a Democrat challenging Scott for re-election, played a central role in the state’s economic demise.
“They say it doesn’t matter who was running our state – that anyone would have been just a victim of the times. I disagree,” Scott told lawmakers crowded into a House chamber amid desks overflowing with floral arrangements.
“Our leaders especially – and every person in our state – are not simply bystanders in the arena of life, where the hard battles are fought and history is made,” Scott added.
Scott touted a range of policy initiatives for the 60-day session ahead, using invited business leaders, veterans and a Delray Beach teacher seated in the House public gallery to help make his points.
Ruthie Santiago, from Spady Elementary School, continued teaching even while battling breast cancer she has since overcome, Scott said.
“Teachers like Ruthie make Florida schools some of the best in the country,” Scott said.
The governor then urged lawmakers to use the session to continue working on firing the state’s economy, especially the signature $500 million tax and fee cut package he is proposing.
“I am asking you to join with me this session to say to all the people of Florida, we have more work left to do, so let’s keep working,” Scott said.