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May 31, 2011
Four words I never expected to say: I miss Jeb Bush.
Don’t misunderstand, I fought Jeb (and, I suspect, will again). But no matter how much I opposed his policies, I always believed Jeb possessed the requisite respect for our state and its people.
Sadly, I can’t say that about Rick Scott.
I have watched him carefully his first 6 months in office. At first I thought Governor Scott’s reptilian detachment from Florida was simply the product of being unaccustomed to the harsh glare of public life. But it became quickly apparent that it comes from something far more unsettling.
Rick Scott doesn’t seem to care about Florida.
His only interest seems to be pandering to a narrow swath of tea party supporters by nationalizing Florida politics. But Florida has unique challenges, and in the process of proving his tea party credentials, Governor Scott is ruining our state. Floridians barely elected him not because of who he was, but what he wasn’t (a Democrat). Now, like a bad sequel to the movie The Hangover, Floridians are retracing their steps to figure out how they woke up with a tiger in their bathroom and Lex Luther as governor. His approval rating is 29% and frankly that’s too generous.
In just 6 months Rick Scott has dismantled our growth management laws and eliminated Florida Forever (the land conservation program) to allow developers to completely pave over our state; he successfully convinced the legislature to gut education spending in order to provide special interest tax breaks; he’s shown utter contempt for Florida’s open government traditions by operating more secretively than any other administration; he gave property insurance companies the green light to raise rates as they see fit; and advanced policies that will make our state’s oldest and poorest nothing more than profit centers for health insurers. And that’s just the beginning.
Scott is treating Florida much like the companies he bought and sold in his business life. Buy a company, reengineer it so it can be sold for a quick profit and let it’s defects become someone else’s problems down the road.
But Florida isn’t a collection of business units that can be dismantled. It is a community of families living in a land blessed with extraordinary natural gifts. We will still be here when quick-buck developers have concreted our state; real families will have to bear the brunt of unfair property tax increases; and our children will pay for a cheap education forever.
The Tea Party and anti-Democrat surge that swept Governor Scott into office was a national tsunami based on discontent in Washington. Florida was just collateral damage. But with each passing month, Governor Scott damages our state in ways that will be felt long after his first and only term in office is just some distant memory Floridians struggle to forget.
Yes, I’m sorry to say, I miss Jeb Bush.
Special Message from Dan Gelber's "Little Brother"- Travis Thomas
Web Video: Bio Piece on Dan Gelber
Sen. Gelber debates against two amendments to HB 1143 that took aim at a woman's right to privacy
Final Video Message from Tallahassee: 2010 Legislative Session was guided by ideological frolics and a politically driven agenda
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Political advertisement paid for and approved by Dan Gelber.