TAMPA - I quizzed the Governor on a wide range of topics, but no matter the question, the answer was almost always the same: "Jobs."
Rick Scott is a long way from producing the 700,000 jobs he's promising, but he sees the drop in Florida unemployment promising.
"Unemployment's gone from 12% in December down to 11.1%. That's the positive. The negative is we still have a million people out of work," said Scott.
Scott's remedy to Florida's stubborn unemployment, which remains higher than the national average, is a sort of trickle-down program for corporations -- lowering, then eventually eliminating, their taxes.
"If you have a choice between a location that has higher taxes or lower taxes, what are you going to do?" asked Scott as if the answer were self-evident.
What the Governor's question ignores is that major employers like Google, Disney, Hewlett-Packard and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies remain in California where corporate tax rates are far higher than in Florida.
Surveys show corporations looks for an educated workforce, transportation options and overall quality of life when choosing where to move or expand.
Scott believes lowering Florida's corporate tax rate, which is already the fifth- or sixth-lowest in the nation, will generate enough sales tax to pay for education, human services and law enforcement needs.
He said, "We've got to grow our state and make it a place where businesses want to be."
Scott also believes growth management regulations kill jobs. That's why he supports rolling back decades of growth management requirements that were put in place to slow rampant sprawl and pollution. The Republican legislature passed (and Scott supports) a law that removes state's requirement that developers help pay for roads, schools and parks for their new subdivisions.
When asked why developers need more incentives to build while a massive glut of residential homes sits on the market, the answer was once again, 'jobs.'
"Here's how we're going to deal with the homes -- we're going to get jobs going," said Scott.
Scott's single-minded focus on jobs and business, and his stiffer personal style puts him in contrast to his more popular predecessor, Charlie Crist. The self proclaimed "People's Governor" mingled easily with the public who seemed delighted at his personal warmth. And though his approval ratings are in the low 30's, Scott seems to enjoy the job of Governor.
"If you like helping people, it's the best job in the world."