With Governor Rick Scott’s January 6 inauguration quickly approaching, Florida political observers are anxiously waiting to hear about the second term priorities for the next four years.
Inaugural addresses set the stage for a governor’s term, and undoubtedly Governor Scott will focus on jobs and the economy. But just in case the chief executive needs a few additional ideas, Sachs Media Group asked several influential opinion leaders for other helpful suggestions.
“The governor gets to set forth a grand vision for where he sees our state heading, and how he’d like to help us get there,” said Ron Sachs, President and CEO of Sachs Media Group. “We asked some of Florida’s foremost leaders what they’d include if they had the chance to add a paragraph to the speech.”
A cross-section of business, nonprofit, and association leaders stepped up to propose ideas for the governor’s speech:
Tim Stapleton, Executive Vice President of the Florida Medical Association
“We are fortunate to have dedicated public servants who are working to make Florida the healthiest state in the country. Led by state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, our Department of Health is fighting the obesity epidemic with its Healthiest Weight Florida initiative so that Floridians of all ages can live healthier, more active lives.
“Under Commissioner Adam Putnam, our Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is providing a wealth of resources promoting healthy lifestyles through the Living Healthy in Florida campaign. We applaud both departments for their efforts to vastly improve quality of life for our citizens and ensure a healthy future for Florida.” Click to Tweet
Mike Sittig, Executive Director of the Florida League of Cities
“As we enter the second half of this decade, we are looking at a very different landscape than where we began. Over the past four years, Florida’s cities – some of the hardest hit by the downturn in the economy and the collapse of the housing market – have shown tremendous strength and resilience.
“Engaged citizens and local officials have helped create a business-friendly environment where Florida’s employers are adding jobs in record numbers and consumer spending and tourism are on the rise once again. Great cities make a great state, and our cities are dedicated to making Florida not only a great place to visit, but a great place to call home. The future looks bright for the Sunshine State.” Click to Tweet
Jason Altmire, Senior Vice President at Florida Blue
“We must strive to make Florida an internationally known hub of innovation, where we can create the business climate to incubate and cultivate good ideas, and to incentivize and reward the risk-taking innovators. No longer can we afford to lose our best and brightest to perceived greener pastures on the West Coast or Northeast, or even to Europe and Southeast Asia.
“We must create an atmosphere where high technology and bio-tech startups can succeed and grow, and where young innovators can find and win the investment and venture capital dollars that can make all the difference in whether their start-up business gets off the ground.
“By incentivizing innovation, we will grow jobs and our tax base, but most important, we will continue to advance the international perception of Florida – to put our state on the map as a destination for the innovators – as a place where entrepreneurs are supported and can thrive. Only then can we truly take the next step in further increasing Florida’s international competitiveness.” Click to Tweet
Dean Ridings, President and CEO of the Florida Press Association
“When I became governor in 2011, one of my first executive actions was to keep the office of open government open and to make sure it had the best staff – including Pat Gleason as special counsel. I created project Sunburst to ensure that email from executive staff is open and accessible, and now I want to increase transparency in my second term by demonstrating a new level of openness.
“I plan to work with our legislature to put more bite into Florida’s open government laws, so that your elected officials will have even more incentive to keep the work of government open to all Floridians. I also want to create a better relationship with the media, and am starting with a monthly media luncheon where I can have time to discuss the issues pressing our state in more detail. Florida has a wonderful history of open government and I plan to make it better than ever!” Click to Tweet
Dominic Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch
“Florida is the best state in the nation to start or grow a business and to get a good job. Our natural and man-made attractions make the Sunshine State a wonderful place to live, work and play. I’m committed to ensuring that Florida stays that way – for our current residents, our future residents, and our young people and children who will one day grow up and inherit this great state.
“In our local communities and at the state level, that begins with ensuring we only spend your hard-earned tax dollars on the services that make Florida special. This is why public pension reform is so important to our state. Public pension costs, for our cities and for our state, are threatening the quality of life we enjoy here in Florida.
“Reforming pensions to reduce their costs are important to the elderly who are in need of health care, the developmentally disabled who are in need of services, the children who deserve better educational opportunities, the teachers who deserve a raise, and the public safety officers who deserve more men and women on their forces to have their backs. By reducing the cost of underfunded pensions, Florida can take the needed steps to provide these services while continuing to find ways to lower your tax burden.” Click to Tweet
Tony Villamil, Founder & Principal of The Washington Economics Group
“My vision is to make Florida the leading State in the Nation where an increasing standard of living can come true for millions of individuals and their families. We will accomplish this vision by creating the best economic climate not only in the Nation, but also globally, thereby facilitating the start and expansion of business enterprises that provide economic and social opportunities for millions of Floridians.
“Creating the best ecosystem in the Nation for entrepreneurship will require government as a facilitator of entrepreneurial initiatives, and not as a taxing and regulator of economic activity. It will require investing smartly, and jointly with the private sector, in results-oriented education, workforce development and technology-intensive multimodal infrastructure. At the end of my eight years as your Governor, your Sunshine State will be known as a ‘field of dreams’ where economic opportunity and a high quality of life become a reality for all Floridians.” Click to Tweet
David Lawrence, President of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation
“At the center of a genuinely strong economy is a strong (and skilled) workforce – men and women eager to work and able to meet the demands of an ever-more global economy. At the center of that strong and skilled workforce is education.
“In just the last four years, Florida has made significant progress in building upon what was an already-improving state education system, but more can be done … and it can be done earlier. That is why, in the next four years of my administration, you will see high-quality early education as a priority. We will increase access to early learning programs across Florida, while simultaneously increasing quality. No child in our state should enter kindergarten already behind.” Click to Tweet
What would you include in the governor’s second inaugural address? Add your contribution in the Comments section below.