Rick Scott

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In what likely was a surprise to virtually no one in Florida, Governor Rick Scott announced his next political campaign on Monday at an Orlando construction firm.

Scott, in his trademark sky blue shirt and Navy baseball cap, said he’ll seek the Republican nomination in hopes of challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” mantra, used in two gubernatorial campaigns, will transfer to this race.

Governor's Press Office

After Governor Rick Scott signed new gun restrictions into law Friday, in response to last month's massacre that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the legal challenge was not very far behind.

Three weeks of pressure from relatives and friends of the students slain in the in the February 14 massacre provided momentum for the legislation. Scott said the bill balances individual rights with need for public safety, and conceded that it’s not perfect, and may not satisfy everyone. But he added it will make a difference.

Governor Rick Scott is ordering the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, regarding the shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School in Parkland.  

Seventeen people were killed in the attack. The sheriff's office is under scrutiny after veteran Deputy Scot Peterson, who was assigned to the school, did not confront suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, and for failing to submit reports of tipster calls before the shooting.

Bobby Kreiner/ Creative Commons

The Trump administration’s decision to exclude Florida from the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling is drawing both clapping hands and raised eyebrows.

After meeting with Governor Rick Scott at the Tallahassee Airport on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off Florida’s Atlantic coast would be "off the table." 

Office of Rick Scott

Rick Scott delivered his eighth and final State of the State Address as Florida’s 45th Governor on Tuesday, during kickoff of the 2018 legislative session.

In a nutshell, the Governor’s wish list includes not only more tax cuts, but to make it more difficult for future governors and legislators to raise them. For that, he needs some help outside the Statehouse.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Heading into his final year in office, Governor Rick Scott is once again asking the Legislature to cut taxes and fees in myriad areas.

The Governor made the call at stops in Ft. Myers, Sanford and Jacksonville on Monday. The package will be considered during the 2018 regular session that kicks off in January. The crown jewel is a series of sales-tax “holidays.”

NOAA

Governor Rick Scott’s being praised for his response to Hurricane Irma; but could that carry over to next year’s U.S. Senate race? 

Scott is gaining praise for his preparation and reaction to the storm, which has left millions of Floridians in the dark and dealing with floods. Hundreds of thousands of others took his advice and left for safer areas.

“This is a deadly storm,” Scott said as Irma battered her way through the Caribbean. “If you’ve been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. Do not wait – evacuate.”

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the American Red Cross of Northwest Florida has ramped up their recruitment and training of volunteers.

“Thank you all for coming,” said volunteer Sheila Mitchell, as she welcomed a group of prospective volunteers to the latest training session at the Pensacola office. “This is great to have this much of a turnout.”

Mitchell says losing her house in Hurricane Ivan is what drove her to become a Red Cross volunteer, which she’s done for the past three years.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

As Hurricane Irma, still a strong Category 4 storm as of Friday evening, continues to barrel toward South Florida, state and local officials have ramped up efforts to help those fleeing the devastating storm.

For the past week, Florida Governor Rick Scott has been traveling the state urging all residents to be prepared for Irma. On Friday, he conducted briefings in Tampa, Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach. At more nearly 400 miles across, Irma will impact almost every part of the state. 

Local, state and federal officials are continuing to urge all of the state’s residents to prepare for powerful Hurricane Irma, which is set to begin affecting South Florida by the weekend. Government authorities are gearing up, too.

In briefings on Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott called Irma a massive, possibly devastating storm, with extreme winds and a projected storm surge that could go for miles. He compared it to Hurricane Andrew, which was a Category 5 storm when it struck Florida in 1992.

"The storm is bigger, faster, and stronger than Hurricane Andrew."

FDOT

Governor Rick Scott made a stop in Pensacola Monday morning to talk about building bridges-- literally. Scott, along with many state and local officials gathered at the north end of the 3 Mile Bridge to talk about the bridge replacement project and its impact on the area. "A 398 million dollar project. As you might expect you had a lot of people making sure this bridge was done right." 

House photo by Mark Foley

As the Florida Legislature prepares for a three-day special session beginning Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott is defending his record-setting budget vetoes.

Wielding the veto pen, the Governor cut out almost $12 billion from the new state budget, as part of a deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron to fund two of Scott’s pet projects.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott Monday held a pair of ceremonial signings, for legislation he signed for real last week to allow Triumph Gulf Coast to receive its first payment,$300 million, from the $1.5 billion BP oil spill settlement.

Gulf Power Company President Stan Connally kicked off the ceremony at Pensacola International Airport, after the event was moved from the VT-MAE construction site because of inclement weather.

Governor Rick Scott has not yet taken action on the new budget and he fate of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency, remains in limbo.

For every dollar Visit Florida spends, the state receives $3.20 in return, according to the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. In 2015, the latest available year, that translated to $109 billion in tourist spending; $11.3 billion in tax revenue, and 1.4 million tourism-related jobs in 2015. 

With Governor Rick Scott termed out of office in 2018, there’s beginning to be a lot of jockeying for position in both parties for that race.

Two aspirants, each from high-profile Florida families, announced their intentions this week. Republican Adam Putnam currently is Agriculture Commissioner.

“It has been an honor to serve my community, to serve my friends and neighbors, to serve my state, and to serve my nation,” said Putnam at a rally in his hometown of Bartow. “But make no mistake; for me, it’s always been ‘Florida first.’ And it’s why I am running for governor.”

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

While the 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate has not begun officially, it is clearly underway.

November 6, 2018 is still 18 months away but incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott, the presumptive Republican challenger, are already gearing up.

“Most people think that’s going to be the race; we don’t know if someone else is going to enter. But it will be a very expensive, highly competitive race,” says Susan McManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida.

In part of his roughly 30-minute speech, the Governor vigorously defended the state’s economic development and tourism arms. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who sat nearby, wants to strip Enterprise Florida of state money and is backing significant cuts to Visit Florida’s funding.

“Enterprise Florida has been responsible for over 900 projects since I got elected,” said the Governor. “This is how growing an economy works; you build an environment for companies to be successful, and others will join.”

Ground Is Broken on Pensacola Aerospace Facility

Oct 30, 2016
Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Two years after the initial announcement, and four months after the original start of production, ground was broken Friday on an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Pensacola International Airport.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward served as master of ceremonies, to announce plans for a 173,000 square foot hangar on 19 acres adjacent to the airport – making the city part of the aerospace landscape.

A federal judge in Tallahassee has extended the deadline until Wednesday, for voter registration in Florida for the November 8th general election.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker granted the additional day, with a hearing set for Wednesday involving a temporary restraining order sought by the plaintiffs, and an extension of voter registration through at least October 18.

National Hurricane Center

Florida is bracing as Hurricane Matthew’s path moves closer to the state. Preparations are being made all the way up to the Panhandle.

The latest from the National Hurricane Center has Matthew about 55 miles from the eastern tip of Cuba. Movement is north at around ten miles an hour, with top sustained winds at 145 miles per hour -- making it a Category-4 storm.

“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, and we’re not going to take any chances,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties in Florida.

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