Gov.-elect Rick Scott's weeklong jobs tour won't include Southwest Florida

— Governor-elect Rick Scott is traveling the state on a “Let’s Get to Work Jobs Tour,” but it won’t include stops in his own backyard.

Scott – a Naples businessman – began his tour Monday. In a message on Twitter, he described it as a first step in implementing his “777 plan,” a seven-step plan to create 700,000 jobs in seven years.

He will talk about creating jobs with Florida businesses and residents in 10 cities and towns: Pensacola, Melbourne, Venus, Lake City, Miami, Bradenton, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando.

“We don’t have any stops planned in Lee or Collier on this first jobs tour, but we plan to do many more jobs tours in the coming months,” said Brian Burgess, a spokesman for Scott, in an e-mail.

He said the two counties “can definitely count on a visit from the governor” soon.

Local leaders don’t seem to feel slighted by Scott’s decision to go elsewhere on his first tour. “It doesn’t disturb me,” said Steve Tirey, president of The Chamber of Southwest Florida.

From living and working in Southwest Florida, Scott is already aware of at least some of the job-related issues here. Community and business leaders will be sure to “keep him keenly aware of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement” in this region over the coming months, Tirey said.

“It has been said that the new governor is a pro-business advocate,” he said. “Now let’s see what happens when we get to work.”

For the last few years, the chamber and other business groups have tried to get the current governor, Charlie Crist, to make an appearance in Southwest Florida to hear their concerns, but it never happened, Tirey said. “I hope we get that chance with Scott,” he said. “We’ve got to let him get in those stirrups first.”

Frank Schwerin, chairman of the Republican Party of Collier County, said the jobs tour isn’t what’s going to bring about real change anyway. It’s the governor’s pro-business policy that will make the difference, and the ideas behind that policy are already well-known in Southwest Florida, he said.

“He needs to go to places that are not familiar with the message,” Schwerin said. “And I can totally understand that.”

He said it makes sense for Scott to go to other places where he didn’t receive a majority of the votes in the November electiojn – and where his message might not be as familiar.

“The state legislature, the state senate, the state house, the governor are more conservative and more pro-business than any time since I’ve lived here in Florida,” Schwerin said. “I have been here almost 20 years. Next year will be the year when some of the pro-business policies will finally get implemented and we are going to see a big turnover.”

He actually expects Scott to exceed his promise to create 700,000 obs in seven years.

Mike Reagen, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, said he’s heard no concerns from his members about Scott’s decision to exclude this area in his first jobs tour. “You can only do so much,” he said. “He can’t be everywhere at the same time.”

He noted that several local business and community leaders have been appointed to his advisory committees.

Giving Southwest Florida any special treatment would be unfair and wrong, Reagen said.

‘He’s a CEO type,” he said. “He’s going to look at the whole state enterprise as one big company.”

“We are watching and waiting for the state of the union address to see what he’s going to actually propose to the state legislature,” Reagen added.

The first sites for the jobs tour were selected with input from economic development offices from across Florida, along with major business associations, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Council of 100, Enterprise Florida and the Florida chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, or NFIB, according to Burgess.

This first tour will involve a cross-section of industries including homeland security/defense, technology, aviation, tourism and health care.

“The idea was to select a broad range of industry sectors and fit them into a five-day tour,” Burgess said. “It wasn’t easy, and many excellent sites just didn’t fit into the schedule logistically, given the tight time frame and travel involved. But Lee and Collier counties can definitely count on a visit from the governor in the coming months.”

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Comments » 3

RayPray writes:

At first, was worried Rick would lapse into typical golf-swinging country club Republican.

After all, a retired business exec from Naples!

But he has tacked hard Libertarian Right so far in his picks, which could yield sweet treats from Sunshine State taxpayers.

Scuttling the Jax$0n Lab$ super-boondoggle will be the real indication.

If he refuses to cave on this, absent a bad hurricane, he could go down as one of our top governors.

Fossil writes:

Seven years? I guess he figures that such a long lead time will insure he is not blamed when he can't deliver. We need the jobs within the next 12 months. If you can't do better then 7 years, perhaps you are in over your head.

RayPray writes:


No, it's known as the Peter Principle. It explains why most of our local government and community poo-bahs -- Fiala! City Council! -- got where they reached.

It also explains how you became top blogger for this paper.

Of course, there is also the Stockholm Syndrome, whose operation is likewise germane to to actions of many of our local functionaries.

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