Conservative Naples businessman Rick Scott running for governor

Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott said people started suggesting he run for governor after hearing him speak out about how the federal government needed to stay out of health care.

Provided by Rick Scott for Governor

Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott said people started suggesting he run for governor after hearing him speak out about how the federal government needed to stay out of health care.

— Another name has been added to Florida’s gubernatorial race — and this time it’s a local mainstay.

Conservative Naples businessman Rick Scott said he’s jumping into the contest. The businessman made national headlines recently by opposing President Barack Obama’s health-care plans.

He plans a $1.5 million statewide ad buy to air on television and radio this week, said campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Coxe Baker.

"Florida's future is worth the fight," Scott said. "Our opportunities are too great, our future too bright for the old ways of government and the failed policies of the past."

The 57-year-old Illinois native has lived in Florida since 1997.

“The professional politicians have failed us at every level. Forty percent of Florida homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, unemployment is at record highs and our state budget is a mess. Worse, there is no plan being offered to bring about economic growth,” said Scott in a written statement released Tuesday. “It’s time to fight back and hold our government accountable. Together, we can turn Florida around.”

Scott filed his official paperwork Friday with the Secretary of State.

Scott will face Attorney General Bill McCollum and state Sen. Paula Dockery in the Republican primary in August.

Gov. Charlie Crist is leaving office after just one term to run for U.S. Senate. Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is the leading Democratic candidate to replace him.

In 2001, Scott launched Solantic urgent care, which now has 31 locations throughout Florida and has treated 1.5 million patients.

The Naples resident also co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation in 1987 with just two hospitals. Over the decade that followed, the company became the largest hospital company in America and the 12th largest employer in the world.

“Florida needs a conservative who is not afraid to upset the apple cart, an outsider who is not part of the political establishment, and a businessman who knows how to create jobs, cut costs, balance budgets, and bring new ideas to old problems,” said Scott, who like McCollum, is a U.S. Navy veteran.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Connect with Elysa Batista at www.naplesnews.com/staff/elysa_batista

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