Patriotism, fanfare, as well as some dissent filled the air Tuesday morning in front of the Old Capitol as Rick Scott took oath as Florida’s 45th governor.
“I will support, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States and of the state of Florida,” Scott iterated after state supreme court justice Charles Canady. The oath was followed by a presentation of the state seal to Scott from incumbent Charlie Crist.
After the official ushering in of the new administration, Scott delivered a speech echoing his goals for Florida as outlined in his campaign platform.
Reducing spending and advancing accountability in state government are two of Scott’s main points.
“We’ve gathered today to talk about Florida’s future, assess where we are and to define where we want to go,” Scott said, stumbling in the opening lines of his address. “We will require accountability budgeting in state government, and we will review how every state agency spends every dollar.”
Scott’s transition team began making recommendations for merging certain state agencies and issuing pink slips to the administrators thereof in December.
The more notable of the dismissals was that of the director of the governor’s office of drug control, Bruce Grant. The dismissal, according to spokesman Brian Burgess, will make drug regulation of low priority for state law enforcement.
Closing the office is expected to save the state $500,000 according to Grant.
The governor also emphasized his plan to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years.
“Job creators need to know that the government of the great state of Florida is here to work with business people and job creators, not against them,” said Scott.
A Nov. 2010 report by Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the state’s unemployment rate is 12 percent; 2.7 percent above the national average.
To lower this figure, Scott promised to relax state business permit acquisition policies for entrepreneurs and existing business owners to create jobs.
“There are millions of families across Florida whose future depends on the steps we take to create jobs…high unemployment spirals down to hopelessness, we will not let that happen in Florida,” Scott said before denouncing the “expanded government approach [to job creation] being taken in Washington.”
Although Scott was interrupted midway through his speech by a disgruntled heckler shouting “criminal,” its ending was met with warm applause as he closed with his signature campaign slogan: “Lets get to work.”