Gov. Rick Scott will spend this weekend in Washington, D.C., (he says he'll be going to church there on Sunday), making the first of what he says will be frequent trips to the nation's capital. He has meetings scheduled this afternoon with U.S. education head Arne Duncan and transportation chief Ray LaHood.
While speaking to reporters today on his way to St. Petersburg where he will attend the funerals for slain police officers, Scott said he expects he and LaHood will talk about high speed rail. The talk comes after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, where he emphasized the importance of a national bullet train network. "They're clearly focused on making sure high speed rail happens," Scott said. "My focus is making sure that I understand what the costs are going to be and if the private sector is willing to step up.”
Top on Scott's agenda for that meeting: Florida's ports, which need dredging to facilitate additional international trade when widening of the Panama Canal is completed.
Scott also reitereated his education goals, saying he wants to make sure Florida keeps the best teachers and that parents have as much choice as possible in selecting where their children go to school.
He said he's not concerned about backlash to the teacher pay concept that prompted former Gov. Charlie Crist to veto the legislation last year. “Great teachers are going to be very supportive of what I propose," he said, noting that one of his daughters is a teacher and she believes in measuring performance.
"The teachers that I talk to, they believe in measurement," he said. "They want the best teachers around. They know that if they’re really good they ought to get paid better.”