By Joe Gruters
Not even relentlessly negative media coverage is stopping Floridians from seeing the tangible value of having Rick Scott for governor.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that Scott’s approval rating continuing to grow by hitting an all-time high of 43%, up steadily from the low of 29% in 2011. His approval and disapproval ratings are essentially even now.
While his opponents paint his re-election as a steep uphill battle, his approval ratings are flowing against that narrative. It was his unpopularity driving those speculations. But he is popularity keeps rising, and probably will continue to.
It’s not surprising. Scott was elected to grow the economy and keep state government living within its means. He kept both promises with tough and unpopular spending cuts in the first year, coupled with tax cuts that he then used to go out and pitch the state.
He has worked tirelessly, personally calling CEOs around the country to pitch Florida’s economic and quality of life benefits while going abroad on trade missions to our best trade partners in South America and Europe.
Jobs up, taxes down, state debt down and Floridians better off. It’s that simple.
Moody Investor Services rated Florida Aa1 with a stable outlook even though it “was one of hardest hit states in the recent recession, with unemployment spiking to 11.4%.” Unemployment is now down to 7.1%, a half of a percentage point below the national average, which was lower than Florida’s when Scott came into office.
The report gives Florida high marks for its fiscal discipline.
According to Moody’s Analytics, Florida’s 2013 employment growth is expected to increase 1.9% — again, far surpassing the national rate of 1.3%.
In the past two years, Scott has paid down $2 billion of Florida’s debt, nearly half of what former Gov. Charlie Crist ran up as governor. This is the first time in nearly 30 years that Florida has reduced its debt in back to back years and no one doubts that he will reduce it again this year. That lightens the burden on all hard-working Floridians, who now have the fourth lowest debt per person in the nation.
So the burden of government on average Floridians is reduced. More jobs are available and the expectation for far more jobs coming is offered by objective outsiders such as Moody’s.
These things don’t happen accidentally or all on their own. The are the result of strong, principled, conservative leadership.
It is no wonder that with 17 months before election day, Democrats have no serious opponents lined up yet to run against Scott. There will be no easy pickings here.
However, the Democrats will eventually coalesce around someone and it will become a huge fight. Because not only is the governor’s mansion up for grabs, but Florida is a bellwether state for the nation.
We cannot let anyone make the case that Florida is a blue state. It must remain red and then vote conservative for president in 2016. That starts with the 2014 governor’s race.
We must continue to make the case for conservatism and a conservative governor, for the good of our state and for the good of the country.
Thanks for being informed and engaged.