Childhood & Early Life
He was born on December 1, 1952, in Bloomington, Illinois as the second child among five children of a lower middle-class family. His parents divorced and later in 1954 his mother, Esther J. (née Fry), a clerk at J.C. Penney, married Orba Scott, Jr. who was in the 82nd Airborne during the ‘Second World War’ and post war became a city bus driver and later a truck driver. After Orba adopted him, Rick used Scott as his surname.
He attended ‘North Kansas City High School’ and completed graduation in 1970. He also attended one year in community college.
In 1970 he was enlisted in the United States Navy where he served for 29 months as a radar technician on the USS Glover (AGDE 1).
Post war he joined college on the ‘GI Bill’. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from University of Missouri–Kansas City and a law degree from ‘Dedman School of Law' of the ‘Southern Methodist University’.
While studying in college and law school he worked at a local grocery store and along with his wife Ann, he ventured into business by buying and reviving two doughnut shops in Kansas City and gave management responsibility of the shops to his mother.
On November 6, 1978, the Texas Bar gave him licence to practice law.
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He stayed back in Dallas, Texas and began working at ‘Johnson & Swanson’, the largest law firm in Dallas. There he mostly represented the health care companies as also industries like communication, oil and gas.
While practicing law in April 1987 he made an unsuccessful bid to purchase ‘Hospital Corporation of America’ (HCA).
In 1988 Scott and his wife put up their entire savings of $125,000 for ‘Columbia Hospital Corporation’ that Scott set up with two other business partners. Financier Richard Rainwater from Fort Worth also contributed $125,000 in the working capital of the company.
‘Columbia Hospital Corporation’ gradually started purchasing other hospitals and with time emerged as one of the largest health care companies worldwide with over 340 hospitals, 550 home health locations and 135 surgery centres. Meanwhile in 1989 it also merged with ‘Hospital Corporation of America’ to become ‘Columbia/HCA’.
However on March 19, 1997, ‘Columbia/HCA’ came under scrutiny of ‘Department of Health and Human Services’, ‘Internal Revenue Service’ and ‘FBI’ who issued search warrants at the El Paso facility of the company. Raids were conducted. In the middle of such fraud investigations, Scott was pressurised by Board of Directors of the company to resign as CEO and Chairman. He resigned that year.
Leaving Columbia/HCA in 1997, he embarked on a new career as venture capitalist floating Richard L. Scott Investments. It has stakes in companies related to manufacturing, technology and health care sectors.
From 1997 to 2003 he remained a member of the United Way of America’s National Board of Directors.
He also remained a partner of George W. Bush as co-owner of American professional baseball team ‘Texas Rangers’.
In 2001 he set up Solantic along with former TV anchor Karen Bowling. It is the largest operator of urgent care centres in Florida. By March 2009 Solantic had 23 centres in Florida.
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He established ‘Conservatives for Patients' Rights’ (CPR) in February 2009 that supported free market principles of accountability, personal responsibility, choice and competition in health care. His objective was to restrict further interference of government on patients’ rights.
On April 9, 2010, he declared his candidature for the 2010 Republican Party nomination for gubernatorial election in Florida. In the Republican primary election he beat Bill McCollum with 47% of the vote.
He then confronted Democratic nominee Alex Sink in the general election and defeated Sink in a close contest thus becoming the 45th Governor of Florida. he spent around $75 million on campaigning from his own pocket. He assumed office as Governor of Florida on January 4, 2011.
As Governor Scott refused to take $2.3 billion in federal funding on February 16, 2011, for development of high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. A petition was filed by two senators on March 1, 2011, with the Florida Supreme Court to force Scott to accept the funds citing that he lacks constitutional authority to refuse funds approved by a previous legislature. However the court held that Scott did not violate the Constitution of Florida by refusing such funds.
He signed a bill in June 2011 that necessitated people looking for welfare under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to go for a drug screening and in case of failure in the test the applicant can recommend someone else to avail such benefits for their children.
Like many other Republican Governors, on February 20, 2013, he announced his advocacy for the Medicaid expansion.
He ran for a second term in the 2014 gubernatorial election in Florida and this time defeated former governor and Democratic nominee Charlie Crist on November 4, 2014, to assume office for a second term.
He staunchly opposed the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Florida after the terrorist attacks occurred in Paris on November 13, 2015.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Frances Annette Holland on April 20, 1972.
The couple is blessed with two daughters, Jordan and Allison and four grandsons, Eli, Sebastian, Quinton and Auguste.
The couple is also the founder-members of the Naples Community Church that was set up in 2006.
All through their lives, Scott and his wife have done several charitable and voluntary works to serve their community. While Scott served National Board of the United Way, together with his wife he worked with World Vision to establish a primary health care system in a poor region of Kenya called Bunyala.
The couple fund scholarship every year so that a low income student can attend SMU Law School. An entrepreneur contest at ‘George Washington University’ is also funded by them.