Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Scott interview at DC Works for US
Fred and I drove down to Coral Springs in order to hear Rick Scott, GOP candidate for Florida Governor, running against FL Attorney General Bill McCollum in the primary. Mr. Scott is considered controversial – because, as he put it, he ‘upset the apple cart’ as he started to gain in the polls against the assumed GOP candidate. Scott is also controversial because of his role as CEO of Columbia/HCA during a huge 1997 Medicare/Medicaid fraud scandal. However – he also had been a huge opponent of Hillarycare. And he was the guy running the Conservatives for Patient Rights commercials battling Obamacare. My post is for information only – I think we need to hear/see more from all of the viable candidates.
Fred summarized Scott’s approach as ‘Government by Audit’ – when asked what he could have done differently at HCA, he said they should have had more auditors to keep tabs on things. An answer that he could have given (but didn’t) is that a leader can set an example for an organization that breaking the law is not OK.
I took a lot of notes and this is a long post. Many of the questions asked of him should also be the kinds of questions we ask of our candidate for other state offices (such as in the Senate debate on 6/24).
Here’s a few pictures (fuzzy cellphone – sorry) of the event. The narrative continues below them.
Karin Hoffman kicked off the meeting and spoke about the need for activism. She also spoke in defense of the DC Works for US strategy of endorsing primary candidates. She feels that waiting until August is too late to build up the volunteer base and techniques and that it’s more important to pick the candidates NOW. She also spoke about needing to win, not 30 or 40 congressional seats – but over 110 in order to have a veto-proof majority. Karin also announced that Bill McCollum will appearing at DC Works for US in about two weeks.
Opening Remarks: Mr. Scott said that he has spent the last 1 1/2 years fighting the healthcare bills. But that he’s running because the state is a mess and we keep electing the same type of politicians. We need someone who has run businesses before. Rick has done all kinds of menial jobs and came from modest means. He purchased his first business at 21 – a donut shop. (As an aside, he remarked that if you let the employees eat unlimited donuts, after the first couple of days they will never eat one again!) He owned various businesses since then, the largest being Columbia/HCA with 285 thousand employees. He’s lived the American Dream and he has had setbacks. We need accountability in government, like there is in the private sector. We need to balance budgets. He also spoke to making the climate better for businesses in Florida. That the only way we’ll recover is by bringing in businesses and expanding the economy – not by spending programs.
1) Accountability budgeting – set measureable and outcome oriented goals and measure them daily.
2) Arizona-like immigration bill.
3) Defend the state of Florida (eg from federal actions)
He doesn’t need this job but feels he needs to act.
Karin then followed with questions submitted by members by email. There were no questions from the audience.
Speak to your Columbia/HCA Controversy: Can’t make excuses. The company had 1)best patient satisfation 2)Lowest prices 3) Best patient outcomes. But did a bad job of internal/external audit. In business, the executives are accountable; in government – NOT. How to fix it in government? More internal/external auditing. How to enforce immigration? Use the Governor’s pulpit to educate/cajole. Push the Federal government to act and do their job. Pass an Arizona-like bill. Use all agencies to enforce the law. Make e-verify mandatory? Yes – or something like it. But he wants to remain sensitive to not overwhelming businesses with regulations. How will you decide when to use the National Guard (eg in oil spill/border issues)? Need a forceful governor and legislature. It’s their obligation to act if the Federal Government doesn’t How to prevent the oil spill from damaging FL and what is your position on drilling? 1) First solve it (the oil flow) 2) hold the companies accountable and keep them responsible for compensating those whose businesses/livelihood damaged 3)we need to be energy independent – which includes nuclear, alternative energy as well as offshore drilling. How about distance for drilling? Find out what caused the blow-out. Need experts. How to handle the rise in unemployment/create jobs? 1) Create a state budget that business people won’t feel relies on increased taxation 2) limit regulations that impact business from coming to the state 3) States that have lower spending as a percent of their GDP have better business environments – so lower spending. 4) The governor has to be a salesperson – promoting the state. What is your position on Hometown Democracy? (Iris’ note: Amendment 4 on Nov ballot) It’s a disaster. Job killer. We elect individuals to be responsible for monitoring/planning growth. Can’t have every decision voted on. Why vote for you? Not a career politician, not accountable to any interest group, not going to pander. How to protect Floridians from actions by Congress/Federal Gov’t? Educate the citizens. He didn’t see Governors and Attorney Generals speaking out to their people during the healthcare fight and talking about the implications. Our state elected officials need to take a stand. So when Congress votes – the impact on the states will be clear. Use laws. Defend states rights. Impact on FL of gov’t standards on waterways? Get the facts. Sit down with everyone. High Speed Rail? What is the ROI? Will it pay for itself? From what he’s learned, it won’t. Position on accepting Federal Stimulus Dollars? Against the stimulus bills because you can’t tax or spend your way to prosperity. We should not have accepted the stimulus dollars. We want our elected officials to stand up for our state. Agenda 21/Sustainable Development? Not familiar with it. FL Senate Bill 6? His daughter is a special needs teacher. He believes in accountability and merit pay. The best teachers should make the most money. New teachers should not be getting tenure. What’s the purpose of public schools – to teach! Vouchers? Absolutely believe in them. FL HB 21/SB 98, Right to bear arms? Strong believer in gun ownership and right to bear arms.
At this point, after Karin had squeezed in 3 or more questions after Mr. Scott’s handlers had said he had to leave, Karin thanked him and the candidate was whisked away through the crowd. A few candidates for various office spoke very briefly but the meeting was over.