The Republican Party of Sarasota County is looking in its own backyard for its 2016 Statesman of the Year.
The Sarasota GOP has selected Gov. Rick Scott as its 2016 honoree. The annual event is scheduled for April 21 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, beginning at 6 p.m. with a VIP reception and exclusive photo opportunities.
This is the first time since 2011 that Scott has been named Sarasota GOP’s Statesman of the Year. But the Naples Republican joins a list of high-profile Republicans who have been honored by the organization. As the group’s premier fundraising event, the annual Statesman of the Year dinner attracts political leaders, such as the current Republican front-runner Donald Trump, a two-time recipient of the award. Trump was named Statesman of the Year in 2015 and 2012; while presidential hopeful Ted Cruz received the honor in 2014.
A significant factor in selecting Scott as Statesman of the Year is the governor fulfilling his campaign promise of creating jobs and improving Florida’s economy. Listed among Scott’s accomplishments since taking office five years ago are creating 1 million private-sector jobs and championing more than $1 billion in tax cuts over the past two years. Scott is widely credited by Republicans with helping reduce the state’s unemployment rate, which declined 5.7 percentage points from a high of 10.7 percent in December 2010.
Scott’s pro-business policies are also widely credited with helping reduce the state’s unemployment rate, which declined 5.7 percentage points from a high of 10.7 percent in December 2010.
The organization also named Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who is thought to have killed Osama bin Laden, as its 2016 Patriot of the Year.
The Sarasota GOP’s Chairman, Joe Gruters, was an early endorser of Scott’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.