|Published:||Jan 05, 2011 1:07 AM EST|
|Updated:||Jan 04, 2011 7:29 PM EST|
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Florida's new governor has long been a well known businessman. But until last year, Rick Scott's name wasn't one associated with state politics.
Scott came from humble beginnings. Born in Illinois and raised in Kansas City, Scott's father was a truck driver and his mother, a clerk at JC Penney.
After two years in the Navy, Scott's first foray into business came when he bought and turned around two doughnut shops in the Kansas City area.
At 35, he was part of a team to found Columbia Hospital Corporation, buying several hospitals in El Paso, Texas. The business would grow into a multi-billion dollar company with hospitals all across the country. For his efforts, Scott was named one of Time Magazine's 25 most influential people in 1996.
Only a year later, that reputation would be tarnished by a massive medicare fraud scandal, costing Scott his job as CEO of Columbia. The fallout would follow him years later in his run for public office.
Scott continued as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur, keeping close ties to the health care industry.
In 2009, Scott founded "Conservatives for Patients' Rights," directly opposing President Obama's health care overhaul.
In 2010, Scott announced his intent to become Florida's next governor. He campaigned largely on the message his business background could help better position the state for economic growth and more jobs.
With the help of the Tea Party and more than $70-million of his own personal wealth, Scott beat Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican primary election, and Democrat Alex Sink in the general election.
McCollum and Sink both decried Scott's checkered past with Columbia Hospital Corporation. Sink also picked up most of the major endorsements, including the support of Scott's hometown newspaper, the Naples Daily News.
The race was Florida's closest in decades. Scott won by less than 70,000 votes - or 1 percentage point. In her concession speech, Sink said she was out-financed and unable compete with the changing mood of the nation. She called Scott to congratulate him.
In his victory speech the following day, Scott told struggling Floridians: "Don't give up. I give you my word, better days are coming."
At his inauguration Tuesday, Scott said he expects to be held accountable in office. He'll be working along with many fellow Republicans in one of the most conservative legislatures in Florida history.
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