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“Scott Air” posing Dilemma for Next Governor

October 18th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

The misuse of state airplanes was an issue in the 2010 Governors Race, and because of it, as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the next governor faces a quandary when it comes to traveling the state.

As a virtual unknown, Rick Scott campaigned in 2010 on getting rid of the state planes.

“I’ll put an end to petty spending projects and I’ll sell the state airplane” Scott says in one TV spot.

Scott kept his word. Two days after taking office he put the planes on the market.

“It’s a campaign promise I made, I’m going to live up to them” Scott told reporters before boarding his jet.

Fabulously  wealthy, Scott has been been flying on his own jet ever since. Now, unless the legislature takes action when it meets in January, the next Governor won’t have a plane on which to travel the state.

Q:”What’s the next Governor going to do about a plane”? we asked Scott after Tuesdays Cabinet meeting.

“My goal is the next Governor is going to focus how thy can get more jobs in the state” was his response as he went to his go to talking point.

There are five serious candidates in the Governor’s race. None own their own plane. Only one potential candidate…John Morgan can afford to fly on his own jet.  He won’t make a decision until spring, but in a recent TV spot he sounded more like a candidate than every before.

“I grew up poor, but the taste of desperation helps me do my job today” Morgan says in a TV spot for his law firm that is more of a bio piece on him than a commercial.

Key lawmakers, including the House Speaker, who himself may run for Governor are aware of the dilemma, and they may even fund a plan this coming session. But rumors of a veto abound.

Scott won’t say.

”I’m going to propose a budget and the legislature is going to come back to me with a budget and I’ll review it at that time” Scott says.

And in 2011 the Governor was asked how other state leaders were supposed to travel without a plane.

“They can drive or fly” he responded back then.

But flying commercial or driving aren’t likely good options for the next governor.

None of the five announced candidates would comment for this story on the record. Several state agencies still own planes, mostly for law enforcement missions. Those planes, including a King Air, could be drafted for short term use by the next Governor.

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