By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) â¿¿ Gov. Rick Scott, who was elected to office with the slogan "Let's get to work," proclaimed several times "It's working" during his State of the State address Monday.
Scott touted Florida's improved unemployment numbers and 200,000 non-government jobs that have been created since he took office in 2011 and urged lawmakers to continue to make the state more business-friendly by eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment.
Jobs and education were the main points in Scott's third State of the State speech. It comes as he prepares to seek re-election and at times seemed better received by Democratic lawmakers more than his Republican colleagues.
"I believe Florida will be the number one place in the world for job creation; I believe Florida will be the number one place in the world to get a great education; and the number one place in the world where families can afford to live," Scott said during the 37-minute speech.
The speech was delivered shortly after the Legislature began its annual 60-day session. Scott spent part of the speech talking about his mother, Esther, who died in November, saying that the values he learned from her are a guide to his approach to governing.
"My mom, the wife of a World War II veteran, had a simple formula for raising kids. We had to go to church â¿¿ a lot; do well in school; get a job. She taught us that in America, hard work plus sacrifice meant you could live any dream you wanted. You could make your American dream come true," Scott said. "The longer I live, the more I'm convinced that my mom was right, not just for our family, but for every family."
He evoked his mother again while explaining why he is supporting an expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul after spending years fighting the plan.