Florida Gov. Rick Scott sworn in for 2nd term

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott began his second term Tuesday with the same promise he made when he took office four years ago – to keep government small, lower taxes and create jobs by making the state more business-friendly.

Scott was sworn in outside Florida’s Old Capitol two months after beating Republican-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist with less than half the votes cast. He took credit for Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession and said he would continue to make the state a place that attracts businesses and new residents.

“You have heard me constantly talk about jobs since 2010 when I got into the race. I can promise you I’m not going to stop,” Scott said. “Jobs have been my focus my last four years. Jobs will be my mission the next four years.”

Cannons boomed outside the historic building after Scott took his oath in front of several hundred people. Scott told the crowd he achieved a 2010 campaign promise of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years. What he didn’t say was that he actually promised to create 700,000 jobs above the million jobs state economists said would be created regardless of who was governor.

Democratic Senate Leader Arthenia Joyner noticed.

“He didn’t talk about the fact that he said he would create jobs in addition to the regular jobs that we get through growth,” said Joyner, who said she wished the governor also spoke about expanding Medicaid. “He said ‘talk is cheap,’ and he’s right and so is his. We have to make investments to turn talk into a reality.”

Scott said he plans to travel to states like California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania to encourage people to move to Florida.

“We want you to keep more of your money because we understand it’s your money, it’s not ours. We want your businesses to grow and succeed. We want to compete globally and we want to win,” Scott said.

House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford said that while unemployment is down, people are still underpaid.

“They’re not able to save a dollar,” Pafford said. “They’re constantly hemorrhaging those dollars that they earn just to eke out an existence in this state. We need to strive to be far better than that.”

Scott was first elected during a Republican wave in 2010 with the strong support of the tea party movement. He reached out to all Floridians as he began his second term.

“There are many things that we can come together on, and we should not let partisan politics, or any politics for that matter, get in our way,” Scott said.

Coincidentally, across the street from Scott’s inauguration gay couples were getting married at the Leon County Courthouse on the first day same-sex marriage was legal across Florida. Scott has opposed same-sex marriage, a fact that wasn’t lost on several dozen couples who were married at the courthouse Tuesday.

“It just shows the universe meant for this to happen,” said Ayana Powell after she married Rochelle Cornwall. “It’s karma.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attended the inauguration. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam were also sworn in for their second terms.

“One of the things that I’ve learned about Rick Scott over time is he’s a very focused individual,” Christie said. “When he knows what he wants to do, he knows how to go after it. And he’s done that.”

At one point in his speech, Scott said Florida will pass Texas as the nation’s largest job creator. Perry pointed at Scott, smiled and shook his head.

This year’s inauguration was scaled back and lacked many of the frills, like a parade and a massive ball, that surrounded Scott’s 2011 swearing-in.

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