“This is Florida Governor Rick Scott, and I’d like to welcome you to Tampa Bay, a great place to live, work and play.” That’s part of the message passengers arriving at Tampa International Airport could soon hear – but Scott’s office wants to make sure it’s legal first.
The Florida Ethics Commission is expected on Friday to address whether in giving the governor a forum to talk to people the airport might be violating the state’s gift ban for lobbyists. The Tampa airport’s operating organization, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, has a lobbyist – and the law bans agencies or companies that employ lobbyists from giving things of value to the governor. The governor’s office says it doesn’t think the messages would violate the ban – but they want to make sure.
The idea was born out of a conversation the governor had when he performed one of his “workdays” at the airport in April.
“When I did my workday there at the Tampa Airport, I got to go to the planes and welcome everybody to the airport and it was a lot of funworking there,” said Gov. Scott.
In other words, the least popular governor in the country, now wants to be the first thing visitors think about when they come to Florida.
This leaves officials at the airport in an awful spot.
After all, how do you tell the governor, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’?
“I think it’s nice that the governor wants to support the Tampa Bay region and the airport,”spokesperson Janet Zink is quoted as saying in a story for the Tampa Tribune. (I haven’t spoken to Zink about this issue.)
What else could she say?
Certainly not what Share Kiser, 35, of Sarasota said. ”I just don’t care for anything about him. His politics. His voice.”
“It’s an annoying voice,” said Kiser, a registered independent who on Friday afternoon was waiting at Tampa International to leave for a flight to North Carolina.
Something tells me more folks agree with Kiser than they do Zink.