If Gov. Rick Scott only had a heart
Feb. 28, 2014
This time four years ago Rick Scott was a stranger to Floridians. Then he spent $73 million on his first political campaign and rode an angry voter wave to the Governor's Mansion. For Florida, this has been a hostile takeover by the former CEO of the nation's largest hospital chain. In three years Scott has done more harm than any modern governor, from voting rights to privacy rights, public schools to higher education, environmental protection to health care. One more legislative session and a $100 million re-election campaign will not undo the damage.
This is the tin man as governor, a chief executive who shows no heartfelt connection to the state, appreciation for its values or compassion for its residents. Duke Energy is charging its electric customers billions for nuclear plants that were botched or never built. Homeowners are being pushed out of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and into private insurers with higher premiums and no track records. Federal flood insurance rates are soaring so high that many property owners cannot afford the premiums but also cannot sell their homes. The governor sides with the electric utilities and property insurers. He criticizes the president rather than fellow Republicans in Congress for failing to fix the flood insurance fiasco they helped create.
In Scott's Florida, it is harder for citizens to vote and for the jobless to collect unemployment. It is easier for renters to be evicted and for borrowers to be charged high interest rates on short-term loans. It is harder for patients to win claims against doctors who hurt them and for consumers to get fair treatment from car dealers who deceive them. It is easier for businesses to avoid paying taxes, building roads and repairing environmental damage.
The son of a truck driver and a store clerk, Scott grew up poor, lived in public housing for a time and worked his way through law school. He moved to Florida as the former head of a hospital company that paid a record fine for Medicare fraud, and he got himself elected to the state's highest office. Yet the governor who overcame so much adversity himself shows remarkably little empathy for Floridians and their everyday challenges as they seek a brighter future for themselves and their children. Scott's soulless approach to governing is turning the Sunshine State into a cold-hearted place, where the warm promise of a fresh start and a fair shake are fading fast.
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