By John Kennedy
The News Service of Florida
Gov. Rick Scott joined the Senate Republican caucus for appetizers Tuesday night a block from the Capitol, hinting that he would soon announce that he’d landed his first big business deal, with an out-of-state company poised to begin operations in Florida.
Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, refused to shed light on the project, with aides hinting it likely involves financial incentives steered through the state’s secretive Quick Action Closing Fund.
Given the timing, however, discussions with the firm likely began on the watch of Scott’s predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Still, Scott told senators that the business venture – which he said could be revealed within a week or so – met with his goal of being the state’s chief economic development officer.
“All my life, I’ve been willing to do cold calls,” Scott said, adding that he planned to center the state’s job-courting in the governor’s office.
“If you look at governors who’ve been successful doing it, this is what they’ve all done,” he added.
Senators generally praised Scott’s early foray into leading the state, during the brief gathering at Andrew’s 228 Restaurant on Adams Street. Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, said Scott was right to freeze agency rules and regulations, while Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, lauded Scott’s selection of Tampa Bay-area resident Mike Prendergast as chief-of-staff.
Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, asked Scott to expand on his plan to advance provisions of a statewide grand jury report that recommended tougher public corruption standards.. Scott touted the importance of Floridians being able to “trust what we’re doing,” but offered nothing more.
If Scott was seeking to deliver a message with his meeting, it may have come when he told senators, “I look forward to working with you.
“In business, I figured out the importance of ‘win-win,'” Scott said. “Nothing works well if only one side or the other wins.”
He assured senators that they would find plenty of “common ground” with his week-old administration.
“I think this is going to be a lot of fun,” Scott said. “And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun because I think we’re going to get a lot of things done.”
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