Florida Governor Rick Scott held regional office hours in Mayo on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Lafayette County Courthouse to meet with local residents and hear their concerns, as well as answer questions.
Scott was greeted in the courthouse lobby by the Lafayette High School FFA members, who each had the opportunity to speak with their governor. Scott told the FFA team they were welcome to come to Tallahassee for a tour of the Governor’s mansion.
Young Luke Adams, who was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis when he was five months old, and his mother Kim were also waiting in the lobby for Gov. Scott to arrive. Luke had plans to speak to Scott about not cutting spending for kids like him.
His mother said, “He's going to tell him how important therapy is for children.”
Transverse Myelitis is a condition caused from an unknown virus that severely damaged Luke's spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Through intense therapy, he slowly recovered function of his upper body and then entered a research program at the University of Florida. He can now walk independently with a rolling walker and attends public school, able to keep up with his classmates and all activities.
Scott first addressed the crowd inside the county commission chambers and asked if they had any questions or had ideas on how the state government could better serve the people.
“You can't solve any problems unless somebody tells you what the problem is, whether it's DOT or DEP, whatever it is...if there is anything we can be doing better, just let me know. That's my job everyday,” said Scott.
Speaking of jobs, Scott said, “It comes back slower in the smaller communities, but we've added 365,000 jobs in the state so far in two and a half years. We've still got a lot of work to do.”
Real estate, he said, has also come back, and again, it is a slower process in smaller communities, he added.
“We're making progress,” said Scott.
“It's your government,” he said. “You need to tell people what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. I'm there to solve problems. I'll be there either four or eight years and I'll solve as many problems as I can.”
About the state of Florida, Scott said, “I'm going to make this the best place to bring your family and the best place to get an education.”
Scott said he lived in public housing growing up and his father had only a sixth grade education. Since this nation offers free public education, Scott said he, himself, was able to take advantage of it. He also served in the U.S. Navy for a while and then went on to build businesses.
“The first time I ran for office was three years ago,” said Scott. “None of you had heard of me three years ago. I remember my mom warning me to get a good ad. Unfortunately, she passed away last year. I have three grandsons now, so I'm trying to get my oldest one to do an ad for me next year. He can't say grandpa, though. He can say pe-paw.”
Scott said he likes people and is just trying to solve problems to make our communities and our state better. He joked that in Washington D.C., U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho solved their problems all by himself.
“We can't print money in the states,” Scott said. “We have to balance our budgets. In my first year, we had a $3.6 billion dollar budget deficit. That was a lot of fun trying to balance the budget, but we did and we reduced taxes. Now we have a budget surplus.”
This year, Scott said, the state had a $1.2 billion budget surplus and next year he predicts over $1 billion.
Residents posed questions to Scott about manufacturing, DOT regulations, Obamacare and one woman asked Scott about the medical waste incinerator project proposed for Suwannee County.
Scott said he didn't know anything about the project, but would find out.
After the public meet and greet, Scott was able to speak privately to many citizens who wished to have some one-on-one time with him.