TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As Florida Gov. Rick Scott nears the midpoint of his four-year term, he is opening up about what comes next and the potential legacy he could leave behind.
Outside Scott's office door hangs the picture of former Gov. Charlie Crist, widely speculated to be Scott's challenger in 2014. Scott was quick to point out the contrasts without ever mentioning Crist by name.
"The three years before I became a governor, the state had gone from 3.5 percent unemployment to 11.1 percent; 825,000 jobs had been lost," Scott said.
Scott has conceded he did a poor job of communicating early on in his term and said that's why his favorable ratings are hovering around 40 percent. Despite the low approval rating, Scott said he will stay on the same path for the next two years.
"People say, 'You know what? The job market came back under this governor. The real estate market came back under this governor. My child is getting a better education because of this governor. I can afford to live here because of this governor.' That would be my legacy," Scott said.
A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, guns promise to be one of the toughest issues Scott could face in the second half of his term.
"What do we do about mental illness? Are we funding it properly? All these things are hard to figure out the right answers, but we have to have these conversations," Scott said.
A sign promoting the $1 billion Scott put into education last year sits on his desk. Scott defended his records when told that critics will say he put $1 billion back into a system he took $3 billion from.
"Oh gosh. As we all know, the federal government took that money away from it. The state even thought we had a $3.7 billion budgeted deficit. We kept it flat my first year," Scott said.