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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2010 7 years ago

OUR VIEW: Rick Scott for governor


If you cut through all of the Bill McCollum and Alex Sink character-assassination attack ads; if you discard the standard operating procedure of the daily newspapers and their editorialists — which is to discredit anyone who has been a success in business; and if you judge Florida’s gubernatorial candidates on their professional accomplishments, the choice for governor is overwhelmingly clear. Pick the candidate who has proven his competence far above the other candidates.

That would be Rick Scott.

Pick the candidate who founded, built, led and managed the largest hospital company in the world — the man who went from being a health-care lawyer in Texas to building and leading a company, Columbia/HCA, that owned and operated more than 300 hospitals nationwide with more than 285,000 employees, more than $20 billion in revenues and consumer-satisfaction ratings that put its hospitals among the best-managed, lowest-cost hospitals in the nation. Pick the candidate whose business practices, more than anyone, influenced a reversal in runaway U.S. medical-cost inflation in the 1990s.

Be skeptical about all of the attacks on Scott’s character. Learn the facts before you judge. Read Scott’s own explanation of what happened at Columbia/HCA — much of which we have reprinted below ( Note the sources he cites.

And if you knew the man — as we have for 16 years — you wouldn’t hesitate to send him to Tallahassee to lead and manage Florida’s state government.

Scott is extraordinarily smart. Among his many skills, he only takes risks where he knows success is attainable through methodic execution. Likewise, as the former CEO of the world’s largest (and complex) hospital company, he knows what life in the media fish bowl is all about. He knew, for instance, what the media would do when he took on Obamacare earlier this year with his self-financed Conservatives for Patient Rights. He knew the media would smear him. And he knew when he decided to run for governor the same would occur.

So you must ask: Why would a successful businessman with ample wealth and who has lived a happy, low-profile life with his family (married 35 years and with two daughters) for the past decade decide to enter the public arena and spend more than $15 million of his own money if he had serious criminal or ethical failures in his past?

If you knew Scott, you would know it’s not a narcissistic ego propelling him. Scott is an ordinary American. Like many of us, he cannot bear to see what inept career politicians are doing to Florida and our nation. And he is driven to make a difference. Somebody must.

Scott grew up barely above monetarily poor in Kansas City. He put himself through college and law school with part-time jobs, married in his early 20s and enlisted in the Navy. When he became a lawyer in Houston, he worked hard, scraped, scrapped, learned and sought opportunities. His work ethic opened the way for him to meet and work with smart people who helped him pursue his entrepreneurial drive.

It was an extraordinary accomplishment for a man in his late 30s and early 40s to assemble the people, leaders, managers and financing and go on to build what Scott built with Columbia-HCA. He knows business. He knows how to lead and manage a huge organization. He believes in the virtues of capitalism, individual freedom, low taxes and limited government. He is a God-fearing, church-going, family man.

Forget about all of Scott’s political critics and the anti-capitalist journalists. They will do everything they can to demonize Scott. Stand all of the gubernatorial candidates side by side. Scott clearly is the smartest and most competent candidate for the job.

Rick Scott for governor.

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