Chuck Mohlke Former chairman, Democratic Party of Collier County
Q: How do you rate the governor for leadership?
A: It’s improving. His initiative to meet recently with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has resulted in federal approval for Florida’s plan for a managed Medicaid program predicted to achieve significant tax savings and reduce Florida’s high rate of uninsured persons. Florida’s program to manage Medicaid privately will, when fully implemented, reduce the burden on hospitals that now must absorb the cost of treating the uninsured without compensation and lessen the “community rating” charges added yearly to increased premiums paid by Florida’s insured residents. That’s leadership.
Q: What are his two greatest successes?
A: Restoring funding for public education by upwards of $1 billion. Also, the sensible decision to accept federal funding of Medicaid well beyond the current 58 percent federal contribution and freeing additional dollars to, hopefully, enhance education funding.
Q: What are his two greatest failures or disappointments?
A: The abrupt, arbitrary decision to reject upwards of $2 billion in federal funding of the “bullet train,” a program advocated by the Florida Legislature before he became governor, and his inability, to date, to come close to making good on his promise to increase Florida’s employment rolls by 700,000 jobs
Q: What should be his priorities for the next two years?
A: Making good on his promise to add 700,000 new jobs for Florida residents would be enough. No other priority should compete for his undivided attention.
Q: Is there any other comment on his first two years that you care to make?
A: Whatever happened to Gov. Scott’s offer to volunteer regularly for entry-level jobs to understand better the daily experience of low-wage Florida workers in supporting their families?