Tallahassee Bracing for Conservative Revolution

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - "Let's get to work!"
It's a campaign trail tagline that's about to become Rick Scott's number one goal as governor. But look behind 'getting to work', and you'll find a conservative agenda aimed at turning the state capital on its head.

Scott says, "There are so many reasons for people to do business in Florida. We're going to make sure that government does not get in the way and stop that."

Governor-elect Scott will take office in January with a focus on cutting the state workforce by more than 8,000 jobs, privatizing prisons, even turning Medicaid into a voucher program. It's all designed to shrink the size of government, and incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos is on board.

Haridopolos says, "The governor and the Legislature did not exactly see eye to eye on a multitude of issues the last couple years, and I think we have a real clean slate and I think you have a person who has a unique business perspective who understands how to reduce red tape, and he'll find a very willing partner here."

The carpet isn't the only thing being changed out here at the capitol. With it goes a moderate brand of politics that over the past four years has kept controversial reforms off the table, especially because Republicans have now captured their largest majority in the legislature in more than 140 years.

That means bills Governor Crist has vetoed - like the sb 6 education reform plan and a mandate to require ultrasounds before abortions - could well be passed and signed into law by Scott.
Bill Montford is about to become one of only 12 democrats in the 40-member state senate, but he's hopeful he'll have a voice.

Montford says, "There are good ideas that come from both sides of the aisle. And this Legislature, I'm convinced, the people that will be there will be willing to reach across the aisle and do what's right."

Still, with the Republican wave of 2010 washing over the capitol, it's not clear there's a reason for the GOP and the new governor to negotiate.

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