Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn't concerned with what the polls say. All he wants to do is make the state's business climate friendlier and make sure the next generation is ready to work.
That's was what he said Wednesday morning as he made a campaign stop at a Fort Myers small business to tout his job-creation skills and how he plans to keep job creation strong if given four more years.
Scott brought his statewide "Jobs for the Next Generation" tour to Entertainment Metals, where he proposed permanently ending the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment as well as offering Florida's best teachers paid summer residencies at private-sector companies.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks with Entertainment Metals CEO Keven Kirchner during a campaign stop at his business Wednesday.
"It's great to watch individuals start a business with all the trials and tribulations and seeing this company go from two people to 18 people," Scott said of his hosts. "It's great to see you doing so well."
Scott touted a record he says created more than 37,000 jobs last month and 620,000 jobs in three and a half years through tax cuts and deregulation, and through the work of the local government.
He also sold his plan to create jobs of the future, which he said would be tied to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and how he brought the end of the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment last year, which he wants permanent.
"We want to give K-12 STEM teachers paid internships where they can come in and see where the opportunities are in the future so they can train students," Scott said. "I also want to spend $30 million in job training in STEM jobs and challenge the state colleges to make some of their four-year, $10,000 degrees STEM."
State Rep. Ray Rodriguez and County Commissioner Brian Hamman were among the dignitaries.
"Entertainment Metals is an example of a business that we want to attract more of. Small, clean, light manufacturing," Rodriguez said. "It's an opportunity for the governor to lay out his vision."
Entertainment Metals CEO Kevin Kirchner was honored to host Scott.
"He's helping us out and doing what he says. His policies have removed some of the formalities of growing the business and lowering taxes," Kirchner said. "His policies will help us hire more employees."
As far as the polls are concerned, which have his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist on top, Scott told reporters they would have to talk to Crist about polls.
"He governed based on polls. That's what got us into this mess," Scott said. "He left me with a $3.6 billion budget deficit and lost 832,000 jobs. I'm going to focus on what I ran on in 2010."
When asked on his stance on gay marriage, a position that Scott was rumored to be reconsidering, he said he still believes in "traditional marriage."
"Our voters decided in 2008 that marriage was between a man and a woman. What's important to me is that I don't want to see anyone discriminated against. That's not fair," Scott said.