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Alexander lobbies Scott to sign Florida Poly bill

Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, led a delegation from Polk County to the Capitol Thursday where the group lobbied Gov. Rick Scott to sign the bill creating Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland as the state's 12th state university.

"The main discussion with the governor concerned how we transform Florida's economy. I believe we made good arguments about the ability of this institution to focus in a way that can be successful for us," Alexander told reporters after the meeting.

The senator said he was optimistic, but that Scott did not tip his hand. The governor has until Saturday, April 21, to take action on the Florida Poly bill (SB 1994). He can sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

Also attending the meeting were Marshall Goodman, the former chancellor at USF Poly who was fired last year; the incoming presidents of the Lakeland and Winter Haven chambers of commerce; and Wayne Watters, a long-time Tallahassee lobbyist and Alexander ally who has helped mobilize support for the new university.

Scott has questioned whether Florida taxpayers can afford a 12th state university. "I'd say, Can it afford not to have it?" Alexander said.

-- Steve Bousquet