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Black-tie bash wraps up Scott inauguration

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 by Dara Kam

About 3,000 swells crowded into the Tallahassee Civic Center to finalize Gov. Rick Scott’s coronation as the state’s 45th governor.

Scott, who ran as a Tallahassee “outsider,” mingled with festooned supporters who coughed up $95 for a ticket to the ball or donated up to $25,000 to his inauguration fund (adding up to nearly $3 million) and got a chance to pose with the self-made multimillionaire.

But some disgruntled donors abandoned that opportunity after waiting more than an hour to have their picture with the governor or waiting in long lines for cocktails in their taffeta gowns and tuxedos.

His voice hoarse from a week of partying before his official swearing in, Scott croaked his thanks to the crowd before dancing with his wife Ann, dressed in a strapless shimmering gold gown to “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?”

“This is an exciting time for change in our state. We are clearly going to be the model for America.”

He thanked “the generous contributions of private donors” and the $200,000 raised for the Wounded Warriors project for veterans.

“To me, it’s really nice we raised the money,” he said.

Scott wound up by declaring the fete “is a celebration for a whole new leadership team to change Tallahassee.”

‘Axis of Unemployment’ and other highlights of Scott’s inauguration speech

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott, who just one year ago was a virtual unknown to Floridians, choked up after being sworn in to office on his family’s Bible.

His voice hoarse from a week-long inaugural gala that will end with tonight’s black-tie ball, Scott’s 14-minute speech focused almost exclusively on job creation.

Scott, who’s already signed four executive orders including one freezing regulation-creation, tripped up when describing how he plans to review all state agencies and get rid of unnecessary rules.

“We’ll get rid of the agencies…,” Scott said, catching himself. “That’ll be in the paper. That wasn’t part of the script.”

Here are a few highlights from Scott’s first speech as the state’s 45th governor.

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It’s official – Rick Scott Florida’s 45th governor

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Accompanied by his wife and daughter, Rick Scott was sworn in as the state’s 45th governor under gray skies on the steps of the Old Capitol shortly before noon.

Scott was sworn in at 11:56 a.m. by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady followed by a 19-gun salute and a flyover by F-15s from the 125th Fighter Wing of the National Guard.

Country music star Lee Greenwood highlighted the day’s patriotic theme with his performance of “God Bless the USA” and “Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Flies.”

Former Govs. Jeb Bush, Claude Kirk and Bob Martinez – all Republicans – joined Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll for the swearing-in ceremonies. Former Democratic Govs. Bob Graham, Buddy MacKay and Reubin Askew did not attend.

Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist, an independent, sat in the front row next to Scott’s mother Esther, and handed the seal of the state to Scott. Carole Crist was not present.

Some of the state’s most prominent lobbyists – big donors to Scott’s inaugural campaign – scored the best seats in the house after coughing up nearly $4 million for the week-long festivities culminating with a black-tie gala tonight. Among them: Brian Ballard, Mike Hightower, Billy Rubin, Bob Coker and Barney Bishop.

Leading up to Scott’s swearing-in, the Florida National Guard Army band played a medley of military tunes including the confederate anthem “Dixie,” considered by some to be offensive and banned from many school activities in Southern states.

Countdown to swearing-in: Chuck Colson headlines prayer breakfast

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Chuck Colson, who turned his stint behind bars for his role in the Watergate conspiracy into a prison reform movement, headlined an across-the-board faith breakfast to kick off Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s swearing in at noon.

Colson, a minister, was among the religious leaders, including a priest, a rabbi, and an Imam from Jacksonville, who gave their blessing and guidance to Scott and Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll and their families.

Colson called today’s political atmosphere “ugly” and said it is “worse than Watergate.”

He praised Scott’s commitment to reforming the state prison system and he offered the Biblical parable of Solomon’s prayer to God when given one wish as a guide to governance for Scott, who’s never held office before.

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong,” Colson recounted.

Scott, hoarse from a week of photo ops and parties celebrating the inauguration, said that he, too, hoped to be like Solomon.

“He didn’t take riches…He took kindness…He wanted a discerning heart, to make the right decisions,” Scott said. “Being governor’s not being the king but…I hope that I do that for the next four years.”

Tearful tribute to Ann Scott from daughters, friends and guv hubby Rick

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by Dara Kam

First lady-to-be Ann Scott received tearful accolades from her friends, daughters and husband this afternoon at a luncheon honoring the petite Naples homemaker.

The Scott’s daughter Allison Guimard broke down in tears while trying to deliver prepared remarks praising her mother during the hour-long event at the downtown Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science.

“I could always count on a sweet little note in my lunchbox telling me how much she loves me,” Guimard said in between sobs, recollecting how the new first lady served as her daughter’s class mother and stayed home with her when she was sick.

“My mom was an amzing mom…but was also our comrade in arms, our confidante and our friend who’ll be the same thing…,” Guimard said, unable to continue, standing side-by-side with her mother with their arms wrapped around each other. “This is so embarrassing.”

Even the governor-elect, who will be sworn in tomorrow, got choked up before introducing his wife of 28 years.

Candidates often get accolades, Scott said, “but your wife never does,” he said, turning to embrace Mrs. Scott.

Ann Scott’s friends described her as well-organized, efficient, charming and fun.

After more tearful praise from her friends, Ann Scott, wearing a gray and pink lace suit, cracked up the crowd with a hastily retracted invite to the governor’s mansion.

“Our home is your home so stop by any time,” she said before catching herself. “Okay, I didn’t’ really mean that.”

New First Lady makes reading a priority

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Florida’s new first lady Ann Scott is asking inauguration celebrants to bring a new or “gently used” children’s book to the governor’s mansion to promote reading.

Scott will officially become the state’s first lady on Tuesday after her husband Rick is sworn in as Florida’s 45th governor.

Ann Scott and Volunteer USA are conducting the book drive for youth organizations and foster kids in Tallahassee, according to a press release issued by the governor-elect’s inaugural team today.

“Rick and I believe in family, strong values and the power of a good education. We believe in supporting our community and we spend a lot of time volunteering. That’s what we taught our daughters and that’s what we believe is important for the future of Florida,” Ann Scott said in the release.

Donors can drop off the books during the open house at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday.

Scotts ‘Soarin’ at Epcot

Monday, December 27th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov.-elect Rick Scott was flying high at the second stop on the opening day of his inaugural celebrations before taking office on Jan. 4.

Scott, his wife Ann, their daughter Jordan and her husband Jeremy climbed aboard the popular “Soarin’” ride at Epcot accompanied by Arianna Davis and Mike Laelante, two children from Frontline Outreach, a program for inner city youth.

Earlier, Scott hosted a lunch at the Disney Yacht Club for some of his campaign volunteers and supporters where he reiterated his campaign pledges to shrink state government (“It’s too big”) and do away with regulations.
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Scott gets his guv on in hometown

Monday, December 27th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s inaugural festivities got underway this morning in his Naples hometown, a week before Scott officially takes the helm as Florida’s 45th governor on Jan. 4.

About 200 well-wishers crowded into a nippy courtyard as a Dixieland band played jazz at the Food & Thought Organic Market and Restaurant as Scott and Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll shook hands, posed for pictures.

“Who’s ready to create 700,000 jobs? Who’s ready to get rid of all regulations that are killing jobs in this state? Who’s willing to use accountability budgeting to look at every state agency? Who’s ready to get that done?” Scott said, echoing his campaign refrain.

Scott reiterated his pledge to scrutinize state spending to make sure taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck and got in a little president-bashing as well.

“We cannot continue to go down the path we’re on. We cannot continue to go down the path Barack Obama’s taking us…We are going to make sure we change how we run this state,” Scott promised.

Scott and Carroll and the newly elected Florida Cabinet are scheduled to make stops in Orlando and Clewiston today as party of four days of inaugural partying.

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Florida Crystals and suitemates pony up $100,000 for Scott inaugural

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 by George Bennett

West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals Corp. contributed the maximum $25,000 this week to Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s inaugural festivities. And three other entities listing the same Clematis Street office suite address as Florida Crystals kicked in $25,000 apiece as well.

See the complete list of contributors by clicking here.

The four $25,000 contributors from the same office suite are Florida Crystals Corp., Sun Corn Inc., Agro-Industrial Management and Florida Pioneer Investments.

Florida Crystals’ rival, U.S. Sugar Corp., contributed $25,000 to the inaugural. During his GOP primary against Bill McCollum, Scott blasted the state’s $197 million purchase of 27,000 acres of U.S. Sugar land for Everglades restoration and slammed U.S. Sugar’s contributions to McCollum.

Other local contributors to the inaugural include the Palm Beach Kennel Club, which donated $5,000, and Palm Beach Credit Adjustor Inc., which gave $10,000.

Contributions topped $800,000 through Monday.

Gov.-elect Scott resurrects inaugural ball

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov.-elect Rick Scott will revive the inaugural ball, a fete abandoned by Gov. Charlie Crist four years ago, as part of his two-day celebration of the Republican’s election as the state’s 45th governor.

Tickets for the event will cost $95, according to members of Scott’s inaugural team. Crist originally planned a ball after his 2006 election, but canceled the event after an outcry over the so-called “people’s governor” collecting contributions for the fancy-dress event during a time of economic crisis for the state.

Scott, who spent at least $73 million of his own vast fortune to finance his campaign for governor, is also hosting a variety of free events, including a youth concert, an event for military families and an event geared toward honoring the historic election of the state’s first black lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll, and first female attorney general, Pam Bondi.

“The people of Florida have plenty to celebrate with the inauguration of our state’s next governor, including the implementation of an aggressive jobs plan and a new focus on revitalizing the state’s economy. Floridians are invited to participate in the Inaugural festivities, many free and open to the public, as Rick Scott prepares to forge a new path towards prosperity for all Floridians. We look forward to announcing event details in the coming weeks,” Scott’s inaugural committee spokeswoman Erin Isaac said in an e-mail.
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