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Opinion: Why I'm voting for Alex Sink

By David Sedore

david sedoreI’ve been an active voter for more than a few decades. I’ve also been a working journalist over most of the same time. Because of my profession, I’ve never endorsed or campaigned for a candidate and only once, years ago at a time when I was not working for a news outlet, have I ever donated (a very tiny donation at that) to a political campaign.

This year, I’m making an exception. I am voting for Alex Sink over Rick Scott for governor. I don’t expect to convince anyone else to vote my way. It’s just that this election is too important not to speak out.

Sink's background is in the business world but she has had four years working as the state's comptroller and, as a member of the state cabinet, had a say in big issues confronting Florida. Scott, on the other hand, has no government experience, and his business record is dubious at best.

In fact, his business record provides 1.7 billion reasons why Scott, should not be the next governor of Florida. That number, of course, is the amount of fines Scott’s company, Columbia/HCA, paid after pleading guilty to 14 felonies in the largest Medicare criminal fraud case in U.S. history.

We’re not talking technical violations of some obscure regulatory rules that nobody can understand. We’re talking felonies, 14 of them. Criminal fraud. Ripping off you and me.

In any other election cycle, Scott would have been a fringe candidate at best, laughed out of his party’s primary despite the personal fortune he invested in his campaign. But, with the economy in the toilet and unemployment near 12 percent statewide, this is not an ordinary election cycle.

Scott says he was never implicated in the fraud. We’ll take him at his word. To paraphrase another famous politician, Rick Scott is not a crook. But that hardly absolves him. 

In a recent debate with Sink, Scott acknowledged as much. He admitted that he should have hired more internal and external auditors. But that’s technical solution that doesn’t go to the heart of the problem.

A CEO leads by example. A CEO sets the cultural and ethical tone for his company. Even if Scott did nothing illegal, those 14 felonies tell you a lot about Scott’s leadership and the ethical tone he set within Columbia/HCA at the time. You really want that in Tallahassee?

Personally, I don’t. 

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