SARASOTA, Fla. -- On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott greeted his largest crowd yet while making several stops in the state and boosting excitement for the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. More than 400 people packed into the crowded Republican Party headquarters building in Osprey.
Prominent land developer and former state Sen. Pat Neal opened the speaking ceremony with a group prayer. State Sen. Nancy Detert began the speeches, saying, "This is like an employee picnic," she noted -- as just about every Republican official in the county came out to greet the governor. "We're the employees and these are our bosses," she said pointing to the crowd of people gathered outside.
State Rep. Doug Holder received wild cheers from the crowd when he expressed excitement about Donald Trump's upcoming visit to Sarasota.
"When Trump's here, we are going to tell Obama he's fired!" Holder said. Trump will attend a dinner in Sarasota on Aug. 26 to receive the Statesman of the Year Award from the Republican Party of Sarasota County. They have sold close to 700 tickets so far for the event, being dubbed the unofficial kick-off for the RNC in Tampa the next day.
Gov. Scott addressed the crowd for about 20 minutes, expressing excitement about the convention for businesses across the state and for the party.
"We got rid of 1,700 regulations in this state," Scott told the crowd. "It now takes just two days to get a permit out of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation."
Scott noted the real estate community now recovering in areas like Lakewood Ranch, and said business everywhere in Florida is looking up, attracting new entrepreneurs because of the lower regulations.
No protesters were present.