BRADENTON -- Incumbent candidate Rick Scott is seeking a second term as Governor of Florida. Currently running neck and neck in the polls with leading Democratic candidate Charlie Crist the battle for the Governor's Mansion is currently a toss-up with months to go before the gubernatorial election. Still, Scott will face two opponents on the GOP primary ballot, though neither has been able to mount anything resembling an effective campaign against the Governor.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Scott was raised in Kansas City, Missouri where he graduated from North Kansas City High School before joining the U.S. Navy for 29 months as a radar technician. Afterward, Scott earned degrees from University of Missouri-Kansas City (Business Administration) and Texas's Southern Methodist University (law degree).
While quickly earning a reputation as a budget-cutting conservative after coming into the Governor's Mansion, many of Scott's political actions and statements seem to have shifted over the past couple of years. In 2011, the Governor's budget raised tuition costs by 8 percent for students and gave the green light for state colleges to raise tuition by 5 percent the following year. But last year, he openly criticized universities for increasing tuition, and in June of this year he signed a tuition bill for illegal immigrants into law.
On the environment, Scott publicly rejected man-made climate change four years ago, but has recently been reluctant to speak on the issue. After a term that frequently rendered criticism from environmentalists for not adequately protecting Florida's springs, the Everglades and gutting the DCA, Scott announced a $1 billion proposal for addressing various environmental issues, including water quality, land conservation and targeting polluters.
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