Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
June 21, 2019

People called me the “Jobs Governor” because I was relentlessly focused on helping businesses create new jobs and expanding economic growth in Florida. I can’t think of a better compliment. I used to joke when I first ran for governor in 2010 that if you asked me the weather, I’d tell you that I have a seven-step plan to create 700,000 jobs in seven years.

When I came into office, Florida had lost 832,000 jobs in four years. I know firsthand that a good-paying job is one of the most important things for a family, and I’m proud that over my eight years as governor, Florida businesses created nearly 1.7 million jobs.

The good news is that our economy is growing, but we have to be innovative and solve problems if we want keep it up.

Right now, our trucking and logistics industry is facing a 50,000-driver shortage that threatens to stunt economic growth. Current federal regulations on interstate commerce prevent trucking companies from hiring entry-level drivers out of high school, adding to the shortage.

I’m proud to be working to eliminate this unnecessary regulation by co-sponsoring the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act, originally introduced by my friend and colleague Sen. Todd Young.

We can alleviate the nation’s truck-driver shortage by creating a training program for young adults to pursue successful and reliable careers as drivers.

When I started working on this bill I thought about my father and my childhood.

My story is not unlike that of many Americans. I grew up in the Midwest and was raised by two hard-working parents.

I never knew my natural dad, but my adopted father was a World War II veteran, a city bus driver and then a truck driver. He was an American hero who completed all four combat jumps in World War II as a member of the 82nd Airborne.

My parents taught me the value of hard work. I got my first job at seven years old and haven’t stopped working since.

His job as a truck driver wasn’t glamorous. It meant long hours away from my mom and our family. It was a grueling job with hard deadlines and demanding metrics. But it was a job that helped him take care of five children, and that’s all he really cared about.

A job gave our family a chance at the American dream, and that is what motivates me today as a U.S. senator. When I saw our state struggling in 2010, I decided to help because turning our economy around is personal to me, and I want every family to have that same chance to achieve their dreams.

But the path to that dream looks different for everyone. Whether our students choose to pursue higher education, career or technical training or a professional apprenticeship, I am focused on making sure they get the education they need, at an affordable price, to find a good-paying job upon graduation.

States across the nation, including Florida, already allow adults 18-21 to pursue commercial truck driving, and the program I’m sponsoring would fill thousands of American jobs while preserving the safety of our highway system.

A bill like this may not get big headlines. But to the people that this bill can help, it makes all the difference.

The DRIVE-Safe Act gives young adults across the nation a chance to enter a high-paying career immediately out of high school. As senator and a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, I will fight to give Floridians every opportunity to succeed and live their American dream — just like my dad.

Rick Scott, a Republican, represents Florida in the U.S. Senate.

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