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State News

Groups urges public to robo-call governor

By Sascha Cordner

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-982091.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Florida Watch Action, known for its "Pink Slip Rick" Slogan, says they are about to get revenge on Governor Rick Scott for his robo calls. As Sascha Cordner reports, more than a hundred Floridians have already recorded their own audio message to send to Scott through an internet-based voicemail system.

"Hi, this is Governor Rick Scott, calling into share some more encouraging news about our efforts to turn our state's economy around and get Floridians back to work "

Governor Rick Scott's voice can be heard on answering machines all across the state thanks to his robo-calls, which are sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida. But, some say the calls are irritating and they're fighting back:

"The robocallrickscott.com is giving Floridians who have been bothered and annoyed by the Governor's clear public relations tactic of robo-calling them at their homes, interrupting dinner, interrupting putting their kids down to bed, to tout his job creation record.' "

Susannah Randolph is the Executive Director of Florida Watch Action, which launched the web site, robocallrickscott.com. The site will allow people from all over the state to record their own phone message and then send it to the Governor's office. There ARE rules, like no threats, profanity, and inappropriate content are allowed. Randolph says it's a chance to give Scott a taste of his own medicine.

Here is an example of a robo call from a guy named Larry:

"Governor Rick Scott, I wish you would stop calling me, uh, not only are they an imposition, but the fact that I am one of the people whose jobs you eliminated with your cuts is really insulting. Stop it! Now!"

And, age was certainly not a factor for this robo call as well:

"Hi, Governor Rick Scott! My name is Isabel. I am 8-year-old and I think you are a bad Governor because my school's budget has been cut because of you. P.S. My mom's a teacher and we wish we could give you a pink slip."

Scott says Florida Watch Action recently handed him a few pink slips during his first "Let's Get to Work Day" in Tampa.

"I worked at a donut shop and there had a few people who were protesting and they brought in their pink slips and some of them asked me to sign them. They all bought donuts. I think the pink ones might have sold out first. But, that's what's so great about this country. We're making a real decision about the type of Government that we want."

He laughed off the Pink Slip robo calls, saying the organization does not realize the amount of jobs he's created so far.

"They're not counting very well. 85,500 jobs."

Though Scott's robo calls may be an annoyance to some, it may actually be helping his poll numbers. Scott is still the least popular Governor in America, but a recent Quinnipiac poll shows the Governor moving up 6 percentage points in his approval rating. Brian Hughes used to work for Scott and is now the state's Republican Party Spokesman. He claims the robo calls are helping.

"Anytime you communicate with the voters of Florida, you're obviously going to inform them and help them understand what is that's happening. These calls and other communications that we have are helping to get out a positive message about Governor Scott and the Republican Party."

But, Florida Watch Action Executive Director Susannah Randolph doesn't agree. She says the number of people signing up to robo call Rick Scott is continuing to grow on an hourly basis. As of Thursday evening, more than 300 people have already recorded a voice message. The robo calls will be released to Scott's office every few minutes starting on Monday.