Governor Rick Scott

The 2014 gubernatorial race is shaping up, as Governor Rick Scott has released his first campaign ad this week. While Scott has at least one Democratic challenger, other potential candidates are lining up to say “Don’t count me out.”

“Four years before I became Governor, the state had lost over 825,000 jobs. The unemployment rate had gone from 3.5 to 11.1 percent.”

Governor Rick Scott's campaign

Governor Rick Scott and his wife Ann will soon be welcoming two new additions to their family. Mrs. Scott says both their daughters are expecting, including one for the first time.

“One in August and the other in September. And, we actually just found out this week what they’re having.  And, we’re going to have two more grandsons. So, our family is quickly growing, and we’re excited about that,” said Ann.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Easter may be coming up, but Florida’s Governor and First Lady celebrated a little earlier this past weekend. They hosted foster care kids, children with disabilities, and military families at the Governor’s Mansion for an Easter egg hunt.

“5,4,3,2,1…Get all the eggs,” exclaimed Governor Rick Scott to the group of kids.

The Easter Egg Hunt at the Governor’s Mansion was more like an Easter Egg Scramble as kids collected thousands of eggs all over the lawn of the Governor home.

“Mommy, look how many I got," said one child as she held up her basket.

A temporary ban to block drug testing in Florida for welfare recipients is still in place, after a federal appeals court validated a lower court’s ruling that the state hasn’t shown why it’s necessary. Some are questioning the Governor’s motives for moving forward with the challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite two other courts upholding the ban.

With looming federal budget cuts on the horizon, President Barack Obama could issue an order to reduce federal spending for valuable programs at any time on Friday. And, it’s an announcement Republicans say could be very bad for Floridians.

What’s known as sequestration could mean a huge dip in funding for the state. And, Governor Rick Scott says it will have a dramatic impact on Florida's military bases and defense industry. Scott also says sequestration will lead to reductions in the National Guard which the Governor says could be detrimental to public safety.

Florida House

Some are speculating that current Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has plans to unseat Governor Rick Scott in 2014, after the Republican Governor upset many of his colleagues with the Medicaid expansion announcement. But, Weatherford Thursday tried to put those rumors to rest.

“I think people who are saying those things must not know me very well. I’m busy enough trying to be the Speaker of the House. And, I think the Governor is doing a good job," said Weatherford.

Two years ago Governor Rick Scott imposed deep cuts to public school budgets. He signed off on bills eliminating tenure for new teachers, and requiring government employees to pay three-percent of their salaries to their retirements.  The effort left school officials demoralized and didn’t do anything to help the Governor’s sagging approval ratings. Since then, Scott has worked to change his image on education, and  he’s putting the state’s money where his mouth is. 

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Attracting new businesses to the state is the goal of a new state business brand unveiled Thursday. Governor Rick Scott along with the state’s leading economic development agency are hoping Florida’s familiar colors, neck ties, and marketing ads will translate to the state’s new business-friendly makeover.

“I’m happy to be here with all of you to launch Florida’s first ever business brand, a brand that will solidify our reputation around the nation and the world,” said Scott.

Gov. Rick Scott’s $74 billion proposed budget includes lowering the corporate tax rate to exempt another 2,000 businesses and getting rid of sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. He also wants to increase education spending by $1.2 billion, which includes a $2,500 pay raise for full time teachers. State employees would get a $1,200 bonus.

“On top of that, we have a variable pay component. So 15 percent of workers can get $5,000, and another 20 percent can get $2,000 in variable pay annually, going forward. I want to reward the most effective employees," Scott said Thursday.  

Gov. Rick Scott  says he wants to see more tax cuts for business, and more funding for education.

Scott’s proposed budget will include lowering the corporate tax rate to exempt another 2,000 businesses. He’s also calling for getting rid of sales taxes on manufacturing equipment.

“They usually consider many different locations for making a manufacturing equipment decision and Florida is just one of their options. We want this kind of manufacturing investment in Florida," Scott told reporters Wednesday in a preview at the Capitol.

WFSU-FM

Following the deadly school shooting in Newtown, CT, Florida Governor Rick Scott is calling on school leaders in the state to review and enhance their school districts emergency plans. With his suit jacket off, sitting in his office at the capitol, a more relaxed Scott was reflective.

WFSU

Governor Rick Scott says he’s planning to run for re-election in 2014 and by his side will be Florida’s First Lady Ann Scott.

For the last two years Mrs.  Scott has focused her attention on children’s literacy issues. She’s also mostly shied away from the public spotlight, doing few interviews and preferring to stay behind the scenes. But as the Governor gears up for his re-election bid, Mrs. Scott says she plans on being active in his campaign:

Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist is officially a Democrat. Some say it reaffirms speculation he’s planning another run for Governor in 2014. But, others wonder what this means for the other Democrats who have thrown their hat into the ring.

Here’s how the list of who’ll run for Governor in 2014 is shaping up so far:

Governor Rick Scott has already said he’ll be running for re-election. Then, there’s former Senator Nan Rich, who’s the first Democrat to announce plans to run against Scott.

Governor Scott In Colombia For Trade Mission

Dec 3, 2012

Florida and the nation of Colombia are $9 billion dollar trade partners.  Florida Governor Rick Scott is in the Colombian capital of Bogota this week helping to maintain that relationship.

Several Florida groups are calling for a task force that will look at election reform in the state. They say it’s needed to improve Florida’s election process, so that the state can no longer be ridiculed for issues during this election as well as past elections.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is expected to cast his vote on Election Day. And, he’s not shy about who he’s voting for.

“I want everyone to get out and vote, whether you got your absentee ballot in, did early voting, or show up on Election Day," said Scott. "I’m going to be there on Election Day. I’m going to vote for Mitt Romney for President, Connie Mack for Senator, and I’m going to be voting down in Naples, Florida.”

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Despite recording breaking turnout all across the state, there’ve also been several complaints about long lines and wait times of up to three hours at some Florida poll sites. So, Governor Rick Scott was asked to extend early voting hours. But, the Governor’s recent refusal to do so has some saying it’s pure “voter disenfranchisement.”

After looking at the long line forming at the Leon County Courthouse, Florida State University students

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

There are several complaints in Florida about early voting lines forcing people to wait three to four hours before casting their votes. Voting groups and Democrats are calling on Florida Governor Rick Scott to extend the early voting hours.

Barbara King is on her work break, and had plans to vote early. But, as she looks at the long line circling around the Leon County Courthouse building, her only thought is:

“Oh my God! I don’t know if I want to wait that long! I still have to go pick up my grandbabies.”

Governor Rick Scott says he doesn’t want to see any funding cuts to education. In fact, he wants more money for teacher training and pre-paid debit cards for teachers to purchase classroom supplies.  The Governor officially unveiled his 2013 education goals Thursday.

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