Rick Scott rewrote the playbook of Florida politics, not once but twice, as a candidate and governor, in ways that will endure long after he leaves Tallahassee.
As Scott begins his eighth and final year as Florida’s 45th governor, he’s considering a bid for the U.S. Senate against three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. If he were to win, it would extend an improbable winning streak for a multi-millionaire who as recently as 2010 was a political novice and unknown.
But one cornerstone of his legacy is secure: He’s the tireless and nerdy CEO with a singular focus on jobs that bordered on an obsession while he was governor, who’ll be remembered chiefly for leading his state out of the Great Recession.
The rest of Scott’s legacy is less glowing.
He relegated Florida motorists and tourists to decades of gridlock by killing a high-speed rail system that would have linked Tampa to Orlando, and later to Miami.
His reversal on Medicaid expansion denied up to a million low-income Floridians access to affordable healthcare, left billions of federal dollars on the table and brought criticism from fellow Republicans that he was a flip-flopper.
Scott is the first governor who was sued successfully for violating state public records laws, including the failure to disclose emails involving public business sent from a private account, and was forced to spend $700,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay his opponents’ legal fees. He publicly apologized for mishandling the firing of a top state law enforcement official that cost taxpayers another $55,000 in legal fees to advocates for open government.
He has exercised the death penalty more than any governor in Florida history. More inmates have been put to death under his watch (26) than by any of his predecessors.
Read more here.