The Ripon Forum
Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
November 9, 2020
I am who I am today because of my tough-love mom and my adopted dad. They lived a hard life – we grew up poor and my parents struggled to find work – but they loved this country and worked tirelessly to give their children a better life. They are my heroes.
My adopted dad joined the Army as a teenager and was one of the few who did all four combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne during World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. What he and our brave men and women in uniform did to protect the freedoms we enjoy is awe-inspiring. And we can never forget their accomplishments.
I served in the Navy and know firsthand the sacrifice our military members and their families make to keep us safe. One of my favorite jobs as Governor of Florida was meeting veterans. I heard stories of service and sacrifice, of hardship and honor. I was able to pass along the thanks of a grateful state to those who deserve it most, and I awarded more than 14,500 veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Medal.
As Governor, I worked every day to make Florida the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation. I supported property tax cuts for deployed service members, numerous efforts to connect veterans and their families to career and educational opportunities, and tax breaks for businesses owned by veterans and their spouses.
As a U.S. Senator and member of the Armed Services Committee, I’m continuing the fight to ensure that Florida remains a national leader for military and defense and that our veterans, military members and their families are provided the support they need to keep the nation safe and to succeed even after their service. We passed the Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act, allowing military spouses nationwide to receive full survivor benefits from the Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs. In my short time in Congress, we’ve also passed a pay raise for our military members and several bills to ensure veterans get the health care they deserve. I’m working to make sure our veterans can get a great education, find jobs and open their own business in a nation that respects their service.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing our veterans and military members being attacked on many fronts. Threats from around the world – including from Communist China – are increasing, and at home, the radical Left has abandoned our men and women in uniform and turned their backs on them. I remember what it was like for American soldiers coming back from Vietnam. Whether you agreed or disagreed with that war, the abuse and insults directed at our military was disgraceful. We’re seeing the same thing today, with those on the Left trying to discredit American values and portraying our nation and those fighting for it as morally bankrupt. We can’t allow it.
I won’t let those on the radical Left distract us from the values that make America great. The values that my mom taught me. And it is my hope that we never forget that the primary goal of government is to provide for the common defense, so our children and grandchildren can live in freedom and peace – and have their shot at the American dream.
To our veterans – thank you for your service to our great nation. I applaud your bravery and courage. I will never lose sight of one the most important roles I have: to protect and serve the families of our nation.
Rick Scott represents the state of Florida in the U.S. Senate where he serves on the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Senator Scott joined the United States Navy, where he served active duty as a radar man aboard the USS Glover.