Focused on education, Sen. Rick Scott speaks with leaders in Jacksonville

Sen. Rick Scott during roundtable discussion in Jacksonville on Jan. 9, 2023. (

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott hosted a roundtable Monday in Jacksonville that was focused on education. It’s part of a tour through Florida that his team calls “Make Washington Work.”

Scott says the nation’s government has to make changes to get the economy turned around.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure every citizen has the opportunity to fulfill their dream because everyone has got a different dream,” Scott told listeners at Keiser University.

He spent more than a hour there with leaders in education from Northeast Florida, including the presidents of the University of North Florida, Florida State College Jacksonville and educators from Duval County Public Schools.

“If you think about every family, their futures are kids education, and every parent wants to make sure they have an education, they get a good paying job. So what you want to do is make sure whatever the institution is, whether it’s virtual schools or homeschooling or private schools or charter schools or traditional public schools and our universities and our state colleges, they all work together,” Scott said.

The educators spoke about partnering, internships, per-student funding and school choice.

Part of the conversation turned to finding solutions outside of leaning on the federal government.

Scott says that’s something he learned from his mother.

“What we have to do is put the family back in the responsibility business. Don’t don’t rely on the government’s gonna set up some rules. It’s gonna solve your problem. How can you solve these problems on your own? And there’s some things government has to do, but a lot of it you can do yourself and you should take advantage of that,” Scott said.

Democrats have taken note of what happened on Capitol Hill last week — an historic battle to name a new speaker of the House of Representatives. It delayed the swearing-in of the 118th Congress.

Democrats were unified on their candidate, but in the minority. Republican Kevin McCarthy eventually won the leadership position on the 15th and final ballot.

I asked Scott about the contentious process, which he calls a good one.

“We ought to be fighting about: How do we make sure we don’t waste your dollars? How do we make sure making government more accountable? How do we make sure government is smaller? How do we make sure we reduce taxes? How do we balance the budget, reduce the debt, all these things?” Scott said. “I’m very optimistic that we’re having real conversations now about where this country has got to go.”

Scott has a contentious relationship with some of his colleagues in the Senate. Last month, Democrats blocked his proposed amendment to the IRS expansion. Scott also unsuccessfully ran to become Senate minority leader.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.