Newly elected District 53 State Representative Randy Fine has chosen to take the lead on pushing back against Florida Governor Rick Scott‘s tactic of touring in legislator’s districts who voted against his economic incentive programs. Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Jobs” Tour is slated to make at least one more stop on Thursday. Fine sent a letter to Scott based on the logical deduction that a “hurriedly-arranged event” in Fine’s own Space Coast district might be part Scott’s effort to win support for incentive programs at Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. But according to a press release, Scott may in fact only be visiting to announce tourist numbers. It’s unclear if the stop is part of his official jobs tour.
Regardless of the purpose of the governor’s visit, Fine’s letter politely declines the invitation to attend Scott’s made-for-media event, and instead makes the request that Scott instead join him in a face-to-face meeting to discuss incentive programs:
“Rather than us talking at each other in the media, I’d prefer to talk to you in person. It is much easier for me to make a five-minute elevator trip from the 14th floor to the first floor of the Capitol than for you to fly to the Brevard Zoo.”
Fine also points out that in the months since he first won election, he’s never been afforded the opportunity to meet with or discuss any of the governor’s priorities.
While Fine tries to find a common ground with the governor through diplomatic means, Florida media outlets are all-too-happy to play up the conflict, calling the governor’s swing through several key districts a “retribution tour,” and highlighting friction between Scott and members of the state’s House of Representatives.
Here’s the full version of Fine’s letter:
I was invited today by Brevard County’s local zoo to join you tomorrow at a hurriedly-arranged event you are planning in our area. I think it is wonderful how frequently you are able to visit Brevard, and I hope you take the opportunity on this trip to see all the good work the Zoo is doing in our community including rehabilitating injured sea turtles and developing oyster beds to repair and restore the Indian River Lagoon.
Based on media reports I have read about your activities this week, and my vote last week, I assume you are visiting to make your case for Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida and incentive programs.
I appreciate you recognizing how important my part of the state is to the Florida economy and to bring your message to the people. That said, while I won’t be able to be there and meet with you in person due to being in committee meetings in Tallahassee, I would welcome an invitation to meet one on one to discuss your position on economic development. As you know, I have not met with you on any issue since being elected to the Legislature.
You may not be aware, but we actually have a great deal in common. We love Florida, have wives far better than we are, have two amazing children, and of particular relevance, have built successful businesses that have employed many and created substantial value.
Economic development is not a concept to me, it’s something I’ve spent my career doing. But in my business, I always found the best outcomes come by sitting down in person and finding common ground. So I respectfully request that we meet to discuss economic development in Florida. Rather than us talking at each other in the media, I’d prefer to talk to you in person. It is much easier for me to make a five minute elevator trip from the 14th floor to the first floor of the Capitol than for you to fly to the Brevard Zoo.
I believe that all of my colleagues and I respect you as a businessman, governor, and most importantly, a person. Many of us have never voted for or against a budget containing incentives. We don’t want to be your enemy, Governor, we want to be your partners in making Florida the best place in America to start, build, and grow a business.
We may not agree on every issue, but that does not mean we have to disagree on all. We could start by working together on my bill, HB 17, which will be heard next week, which would dramatically reduce the regulation of business of Florida, unleashing small and medium-sized businesses to grow, thrive, and prosper. I would welcome your support.
I hope that as a result of this letter we can have a constructive meeting and avoid interparty attacks regarding our intentions and focus on finding common ground to achieve what I believe all of us want – an even stronger and more vibrant economy than we already have so all Floridians can prosper. I will be in Tallahassee all day tomorrow. If you decide it would be more productive to meet with me here than fly to Brevard for a public rally, I would welcome a meeting at your convenience.