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Republican Presidential Hopefuls Take The Stage In Orlando

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State of Florida, Meredyth Hope Hall
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has invited the Republican Party’s presidential hopefuls to discuss one of his favorite topics—jobs.  The governor’s economic summit kicked off Tuesday in Orlando.

It’s been almost twenty years since the Republican Party nominated a presidential candidate without gubernatorial experience.  So perhaps it’s not a shock the lineup for Gov. Scott’s presidential pageant is dominated by governors.  But it is a little surprising the slate was nothing but.  At the last minute, Florida’s junior Sen. Marco Rubio had to cancel.

“We are facing the most significant period of change since the industrial revolution,” Rubio told the assembled business leaders by video.  “And yet instead of benefiting from the opportunities that come with this transformation, our people are held back by the challenges that it presents.  And this is because while our economy is transforming our policies and our leaders are not.

Rubio repeatedly stressed the importance of moving on from what he called outdated policies.  But the general tenor of his platform—reducing regulation and shrinking the federal government—hearkens back to policy programs introduced by the Reagan administration.  And he wasn’t the only Republican figure invoking the Gipper.

“I am so excited about what our potential is, I kinda feel like it’s 1979 again, though, I get a little déjà vu,” Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.  “You all remember ‘79, we were kind of on our backs.  I think the president even said we were in a malaise, I was going like, ‘Yeah.’”

Perry argues the thing separating America from its greatest days is tax and energy policy.  Oddly enough, many of his opponents would likely agree with the diagnosis, if not the remedy. 

Rounding out the day’s speakers was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.  In his remarks, Bush focused on what he calls the Florida story.

“If I had to think about what the Florida story looks like it is a story of applying conservative principles in the right way, consistently,” Bush said.  “Where we advance the cause of limited government and entrepreneurial capitalism to be able to create more freedom and more prosperity than any government program ever created.

Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana also spoke at Tuesday’s gathering as well as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.