Gov. Scott Hosts Let’s Get to Work: Kick-off to November Event

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott joined statewide elected officials and candidates to celebrate the 61 days until Election Day. The Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below.

“Thank you all for being here…

I also want to thank my amazing wife Ann, of 46 years, for being here today and for standing by me every step of the way.

When I was in the private sector, I recall many times when it seemed that the two political parties didn’t offer very different choices. Well…that is not the case this year in Florida.

 This election offers voters the starkest choice possible for the direction and the future of our state and country.

The Democrat ticket of Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum offer a very clear, very liberal, very radical, and very risky direction for our state and country.

This is not political rhetoric – let’s look at the facts in a few areas that matter to every single man, woman, and child in the state of Florida.

 Bill Nelson has voted for higher taxes more than 300 times in his 46 years in office, including voting against the tax cut for the middle class earlier this year. 

And Andrew Gillum doesn’t want to take a back seat to Nelson on increasing taxes… he’s giving Nelson a run for his money. Gillum wants to implement one of the largest tax increases in the history of Florida.

 Forget about party politics and ideology – this will kill our economy and does not make any sense.

When I took over as Governor, Florida had just increased taxes and was in terrible shape.

We had lost 800,000 jobs, we had the highest debt in our state’s history, more than half of homeowners were underwater on their mortgages, and our unemployment numbers were off the charts, well above the national average.

In short, we were in big trouble.

Now ….

Home prices are up;

We paid down massive amounts of state debt;

Florida businesses have created nearly 1.6 million jobs;

Our crime rate is at a 47-year low; and

We have made record investments in education, transportation, our environment.

We have initiated programs to help veterans, help those with developmental disabilities and fight the war on opioids and human trafficking.

Florida’s job growth rate is outpacing the nation’s, and our national economy is coming to life as well.

Why? Because we cut taxes, we cut government waste, we lived within our means, we cut regulations, and we created an economy that brings more and more opportunity to people. This is not complicated. Of course it could be better, and we must always strive to make it better. 

If you grew up wealthy like Bill Nelson, this is all theory and just about numbers. But I grew up poor – we lived in public housing, my mom literally worked 3 jobs at a time. I began working at the age of seven to help provide for our family.

 I can tell you firsthand what it is like to be a little kid in a family whose parents cannot find work. I know the real, actual effects of high unemployment, of job loss. This is what Big Government produces. This is what Nelson and Gillum and the Democrat party in Florida will bring to you. 

I have been blessed because of the opportunity this country has given me. I’ve built businesses and had the opportunity to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of families. This has given me the chance to not take a salary as Governor. 

If Florida goes off the rails and our economy is ruined, it won’t affect my wallet. But it will affect thousands and thousands of kids who are growing up in the very circumstances I grew up. THEY are the kids that I care about and fight for each day.

Now let’s talk about education. The Democrats running for office in Florida right now refuse to acknowledge the reality of our education system. Here are the facts when it comes to education, just plain facts.

Florida today spends more on education than at any time in our state’s history. Not opinion, just FACT.

Florida today spends more per pupil than at any time in our state’s history.  Again, not opinion, just FACT.

Florida’s teachers got an across the board pay raise in 2013.  No other Governor or legislature has done that. Again, not opinion, just FACT.

Florida students outperform the nation in Grade 4 Reading and Mathematics, and in Grade 8 Reading. Again, not opinion, just FACT.

Florida’s higher education system is ranked FIRST in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for two years in a row. Again, not opinion, just FACT.

We have held the line on tuition for the past five years – which means there have been NO TUITION INCREASES IN FIVE YEARS. NONE. Again, not opinion, just FACT.

One could argue that we should spend more, and that teachers should make more money. That’s fair, and that’s something we should shoot for.

But make no mistake here – if you destroy Florida’s economy with higher taxes and spending, you will be destroying public education at the very same time.

Think about it, the reason we now have record funding for education in Florida is because our economy is working. This is common sense.

I would love to say something about Bill Nelson when it comes to education, but as it turns out, he’s never done anything on it. Like so many other things, there’s nothing to say.

Now let’s talk about Medicare.

Florida Democrats brag that they want to expand Medicaid and they want a new program that they call “Medicare for all.” Let’s be honest about this – Florida’s Democrat ticket will bankrupt Medicare, and they want to turn Medicare into Medicaid. 

And by the way, a recent government study shows that because Washington has managed Medicare so poorly, Medicare is already going bankrupt 3 years earlier than they thought. 

And you know why Medicare is going bankrupt even earlier? Because in 2009 the Democrats cut $716 BILLION from Medicare to pay for other government spending. And cutting Medicare passed by one vote in the US senate – the vote of Sen. Bill Nelson.

Also… don’t forget, like so many Washington politicians, Nelson pulled a fast one. He pays all his campaign staffers as consultants, not employees, and that way he can pay less because he doesn’t have to pay payroll taxes. And what do payroll taxes pay for? Medicare and Social Security.

What if every small business in America avoided paying their payroll taxes like Bill Nelson does? That would crush Medicare and the icing on the cake is that Bill Nelson does not provide ANY health insurance benefits to his employees. These guys in Washington are famous for this kind of thing, they say one thing and do another. 

As for me, I’ve never favored any cuts to Medicare, people pay into it their entire lives, and Washington needs to keep their greedy hands off of it. 

So let’s be clear – if Nelson had NOT voted to cut Medicare to pay for other government spending, Medicare would not have been cut.

And this reckless “Medicare for all” approach should be named “The End of Medicare as we Know it.” This radical approach has another name – it’s called Socialism. And it will result in deterioration of Medicare for our seniors, rationing of care for our seniors, and massive tax increases to pay for it.

With regard to immigration policy, the Democrats are far away from where the American people are. Most Americans believe we need border security, but the Democrats in Washington disagree. Nelson has recently signed on to a radical “catch and release” bill that is essentially an open borders approach.

We believe that legal immigration makes our country and our state stronger and better, and illegal immigration makes us weaker. 

Florida is a tremendous melting pot of people from all over the globe, people who come here to live and chase the American dream. 

These are not people who are coming to America in pursuit of socialism, in fact in many cases they are fleeing the deadly results of socialism like we have seen in Venezuela and Cuba.

Failing to secure our borders in the dangerous world in which we live is simply unwise. And Andrew Gillum’s plan to get rid of ICE amounts to nothing more than a plan to destroy what little border security we currently have. This should not be a partisan issue – I believe that the vast majority of Floridians want secure borders. 

I want to address just one more policy area – and that is America’s place in the world.

Bill Nelson and the Democrats in Washington have consistently favored the idea of America as just another country in the family of nations, and of leading from behind. This is their view, and I completely disagree with it.

America is exceptional and we should never apologize for that. We have a duty and a responsibility to be a beacon of freedom for a troubled world. I learned that growing up, and I learned it while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Ask yourself this question — If America does not lead, who will? Russia? China? Venezuela? Cuba? I don’t think so.

And, if the Democrats get their way – not just in Florida but across the nation – they will push radical left-wing policies that have led to what we are seeing today in places like Venezuela and Cuba.

The fight for freedom, democracy and economic prosperity will never stop. Whether across the globe or right here in Florida, we cannot ever give up fighting. And that is why we need you to come out and vote in November.

Let me close where I began.

This election in Florida is really just basic common sense. It’s a stark and clear choice.

If you want job growth, vote Republican. If you want job losses, vote Democrat.

If you want low unemployment, vote Republican, if you want high unemployment, vote Democrat.

If you want secure borders, vote Republican. If you want open borders, vote Democrat.

If you want lower taxes, vote Republican. If you want higher taxes – the Democrats will be happy to make you pay more.

If you want to protect Medicare, vote Republican. If you want a socialist experiment with Medicare, by all means vote Democrat.

I know that the Democrats will say that some people are not doing as well as others. That is true, and it always has been. I want every single Floridian to do better and to enjoy opportunity and success, and we have to always strive for that.

The Democrats are correct in observing that a big government socialist approach is more fair than what we have today. That is true. Socialism is so fair that it makes certain that over time EVERYONE suffers and does poorly.

If that’s what you want – vote Democrat. But if you want America to thrive, and you want more and more opportunity to succeed, vote for Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis, Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis, and Matt Caldwell.

Thank you, and may God bless you.”