BROOKSVILLE — On his way in to a friendly campaign stop in Brooksville, Gov. Rick Scott took a moment to address some of his critics.
As his entourage passed six teachers on the side of the road holding signs protesting his record on education, he stopped and got out to engage them.
He spent five minutes speaking with the teachers and passed along the name of someone in his administration who could give them more information about his education plan.
For a governor who has been criticized in the past week in the local and national media as being hard to nail down, the move was a welcome surprise, protestors said.
ESE teacher Patricia Greenwood said she appreciated Scott’s gesture.
“I think it’s wonderful he took the time to speak with us and hear what we have to say,” she said.
The crowd of more than 100 was much more welcoming inside Interconnect Cable Technologies Corporation (ICTC), a manufacturing facility in the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center.
Scott ticked off several bullet points of his “Jobs for the Next Generation” plan, including a promise to make permanent the temporary lifting of a sales tax on the purchase of manufacturing equipment, a tax cut he also pushed last year.
The sales tax elimination would save companies such as ICTC more than $140,000 annually and allow the 17,500 state manufacturers who employ 300,000 people to expand and invest for the future, according to Scott.
“We have a lot to brag about,” Scott said of the current state of the economy.
Scott said he plans to reduce government regulations and make it easier “to help companies like (ICTC) compete globally.”
He cited the creation of 36,900 private-sector jobs in June 2014, making it the single highest month of private-sector job creation since he took office.
Scott said every parent should have assurance that their children and grandchildren will have a job.
“If we do that, (Florida) will be the best place in the world to live, work and play,” he said.
His jobs plan includes:
♦ Rewarding teachers who teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with paid summer residencies at private-sector companies
♦ Clearing regulatory barriers to emerging industries
♦ Investing $30 million in new workforce training initiatives focused on STEM occupations and using state money to create $10,000 STEM college degree programs
♦ Making Florida a hub for innovative cancer research and a world-class destination for treatment.
This was Scott’s second trip to ICTC. Last September, he attended the grand opening of the electronics manufacturer when it expanded into its new facility at the airport complex off Flight Path Drive.