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Following the Currents that Guide Florida's Future
What should Florida expect from the change of personnel in Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff office?
Joe Saunders
After a brief but influential tenure as Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff, Steve MacNamara has resigned amid a storm of controversy over his handling of no-bid contracts and other matters. His replacement is Adam Hollingsworth, a developer and former chief of staff to Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. What will the change mean to citizens and those who do business around state government?
Nan Rich
Democratic Minority Leader, Florida Senate

In reflecting on the curious decision by then-outsider Gov. Rick Scott to tap consummate insider Steve MacNamara to revamp his image and legislative relations, wise words some attribute to 18th century philosopher and, ironically, the father of modern conservatism Edmund Burke might provide some insight: “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.”
As a newcomer to the governing process, Governor Scott placed himself at a distinct disadvantage in assuming his CEO style of management in the business world would translate in the political one. His first year in office came off more as a hostile takeover attempt than an honest effort at learning the ins and outs of heading up the country’s fourth largest – and very diverse – state.
That singular approach to leading also spilled over to his views of the Legislature: a pesky annoyance that kept getting in the way of implementing his agenda. And while the relations with some of his fellow Republicans were rocky, with Democrats they were non-existent.
Enter Mr. MacNamara. While the old saying of, “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em,” might not have been such a bad idea to resuscitate the governor’s flagging poll numbers, the decision to bring on as his chief of staff a Tallahassee insider entrenched in the good-ol'-boy way of doing things became a classic head-scratching case of “what was he thinking?”
Mr. MacNamara had a history of the kind of insider deal-making that typically brought controversy to those he previously served in similar capacities. And so I question how much the governor knew about his past, or whether he bothered to look beyond the mahogany entrance to the Senate President’s office as he picked his top lieutenant.
Unfortunately, while Mr. MacNamara may have aided the governor in freshening his image on the outside, the negative public perception resulting from his own actions tarnished that polish, leaving a lingering specter hanging over the governor’s choice as “business as usual.”
Whether Governor Scott’s new selection to replace his outgoing chief of staff will prove more capable of successfully navigating the Capitol’s hallways remains to be seen. But I am hoping for the best. From all accounts, he will bring a more balanced, less imperious approach to the job ahead of him.
As leader of the Senate Democrats, I would remind him that there are many dance partners in this process and alliances are not always defined by partisan affiliation. Mr. MacNamara’s fatal mistake, for example, in assuming he could disrupt the lives of thousands of state corrections officers as a favor to his lobbyist friend seeking to privatize many state prisons was in discounting the ability of my caucus to join with more moderate Republicans to block the move. 
If the governor truly wants to improve the lives of Floridians and the future our state holds, he needs to remember that our diversity reflects the diversity we represent, and that our voices matter. We will not always agree, but neither will all of his fellow Republicans.
The challenge he and his new chief of staff face is allowing dissent to improve the final product rather than banishment from the process or a ticket to the unemployment line.
And that a Machiavellian approach from those serving as governor – or governing in the shadows – breeds discontent and resentment. As any good historian will remind them.
Nan Rich is the Democratic leader of the Florida Senate.

Mark Wilson
President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Creating a competitive business climate that embraces the spirit of free enterprise is essential to helping return Florida to the No. 1 job creator in the nation. With job creation up, unemployment at a three-year low and our population growing again, Florida is moving in the right direction.
Much of this can be attributed to Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to make Florida the best state to live, learn, work and play. From the campaign trail to the Governor’s Mansion, Governor Scott has proven to be a man of his word and is doing exactly what he said he would do.
Regardless of who the governor’s chief of staff is, Governor Scott is the leader of Florida and is executing his agenda to ensure children get a good education, that Floridians have jobs and that the cost of living remains low. While some may not agree with his leadership style, hopefully, Floridians will judge Governor Scott by his effectiveness – not by his staff.
Governor Scott has proved time and time again that he’s willing to make the right decision for the long-term interest of Florida even though it may not be the most popular decision. As we all know, making tough decisions isn't always popular when they’re in the best interest of our state.
As the voice of business in Florida, we can confirm that Florida is making great strides in transitioning to an innovation-based economy. Governor Scott’s focus on putting the long-term health of Florida ahead of short-term politics is the right approach to creating a healthy business climate favorable for even stronger job growth and more prosperous economic conditions for Floridians.
In the 16 months since he took office, Governor Scott has signed more than 50 Florida Chamber-backed pro-jobs bills into law that strengthen education, cut overly bureaucratic regulations, reduce taxes on small business owners, support stronger international trade efforts, promote manufacturing and protect our quality of life.
Others may choose to stand around the water cooler and debate staff changes at the Capitol, but our efforts will be focused on securing Florida’s future through free enterprise. We have a responsibility to make private-sector job creation the priority for our state and will continue working with Governor Scott and lawmakers to build on an aggressive multi-year agenda for jobs.
Mark Wilson is president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

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by Dr. Radut.