TALLAHASSEE (NSF) – It’s been four months since Gov. Rick Scott cruised back into office, but to some it might appear that the campaign isn’t over yet.
“Let’s Get to Work,” the political committee backing Scott, released a television ad Tuesday starring the governor, who highlights the Sunshine State’s success with him at the helm.
“One place in America is adding jobs faster than ever — Florida, where dreams come true,” Scott says. “We are expanding industries, investing in our ports, making a record commitment to preserving our environment, devoting more resources to education. Now, working with your legislators, we plan to cut taxes by half a billion dollars. We believe you can spend your money better than government can. That’s a dream come true and that’s your Florida.”
The 30-second statewide ad, titled “On the Move,” started airing Thursday — two days after the kick-off of the 2015 legislative session.
Floridians should be on the lookout for more promotional material from Scott over the next four years.
The governor plans to use “Let’s Get to Work” to “market his vision for the state to Floridians during his second term in office,” said GOP political consultant Brecht Heuchan, who’s been hired as a senior adviser to the committee.
“The actions the Legislature and the governor have taken together have our state going in the right direction, but there is a lot more to do,” Heuchan said.
Lots of politicians keep their political committees alive even when they aren’t actively running for something.
And keeping “Let’s Get to Work” active could be a stroke of political genius for Scott for a variety of reasons. While Scott and the GOP-dominated Legislature appear to be in unison so far, a political committee could come in handy if lawmakers ever balk at the lame-duck governor’s agenda. And, of course, there’s chatter about Scott running for the U.S. Senate or even for president one day.
Florida Democrats weren’t too impressed by Scott’s post-election ad, though.
“I think it shows exactly how much contempt Rick Scott has for Floridians that he would try to buy a higher approval rating,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Karp said.
CABINET AIDES SLOW SCOTT’S MOVE FOR NEW AGENCY LEADERS
Capitol watchers were given a glimpse Wednesday of the next chapter in the showdown between the governor and Cabinet members over department-head appointments.
Aides to Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam acted to cut off Gov. Rick Scott’s apparent rush to find replacements for Insurance
Commissioner Kevin McCarty, Department of Revenue chief Marshall Stranburg and Financial Regulation Commissioner Drew Breakspear.
Monica Russell, Scott’s director of Cabinet affairs, laid out for consideration at a Cabinet meeting next week a series of new performance measures for Cabinet agency heads. But one of Russell’s counterparts, Atwater aide Robert Tornillo, said not so fast.
The Cabinet, which will meet Tuesday, must first formally approve the concept of establishing performance standards, Tornillo explained.
When Scott and the Cabinet met last month in Tampa, they only informally agreed to establish the criteria, said Tornillo, whose boss Atwater has publicly defended McCarty.
“Before we look at a stack of performance measures that one of us has put together, I think we need to have meetings with each agency,” Tornillo said. “There are companies that make a living doing this type of stuff, and we’re trying to do it on the fly.”
Parting ways with the governor’s aide, other Cabinet aides wanted to give the agencies a month to review the proposed standards and give the agency heads a chance to weigh in at an April 14 meeting.
One item that remains on next week’s agenda but which aides did not discuss Wednesday is a proposal that would require Cabinet staff to undergo Sunshine Law training and keep minutes of their meetings. And the reason for the silence? An aide for Attorney General Pam Bondi — whose office serves as the watchdog for the state’s open government laws — said it was best not to discuss the matter in public because of a pending lawsuit dealing with the ouster of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.
Media organizations and other plaintiffs allege that the Sunshine Law was violated because Scott and Cabinet members used aides as “conduits” to communicate about the Bailey ouster. Cabinet decisions are supposed to be made in public.
Scott’s office has denied that discussions about Bailey violated the Sunshine Law.
The News Service of Florida’s Dara Kam and Jim Turner contributed to this report.