Gov. Rick Scott was making, serving and selling doughnuts Wednesday morning at a North Tampa bakery as part of his first “workday” as governor.
Scott was scheduled to work from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Nicola’s Donuts and Bakery, 14390 N. Dale Mabry. Scott said he spent a few hours the previous night baking with employees.
The workday concept is borrowed from former Bob Graham, the former Florida governor and U.S. senator who first used the idea of working alongside average Floridians in 1977 to propel his gubernatorial campaign.
Scott announced plans to mimic Graham’s workdays this week — Scott calls them Let’s Get to Work Days — saying he would focus partly on the jobs he had growing up. It’s one of several noticeable changes in the governor’s strategy to connect with Floridians.
He’s ditched suits and ties in recent weeks for more casual button-down shirts, said he would sit down with newspaper editorial board after avoiding them for more than a year and loosened a policy of charging for public records.
“Like most Floridians, I have worked hard all my life. I started school in public housing and my family struggled financially,” he said in a statement announcing the workdays program. “For that reason I went to work at a young age doing everything from delivering newspapers and cleaning phone booths, to selling groceries and working on a ship in the Navy.”
He also once owned a doughnut shop.
While serving in the Navy and stationed in Newport, R.I., Scott and wife Ann saved enough money to buy a Flavor Maid franchise doughnut shop in Kansas City to provide income for Scott’s mother Esther.
He soon acquired a second doughnut shop and realized that the profits were not in over-the-counter sales but selling dozens and dozens of doughnuts to corporate clients like TWA and local hospitals.
Now he has the chance to swap doughnut war stories with Nicola’s owner Rachel Waatti, 47.
Graham completed 405 workdays during his years in public office. Scott has said he hopes to do about one a month while in office.
— Aaron Sharockman, Photo: Skip O’Rourke