Scott, 60, became unimaginably rich as a hospital executive.
As governor, he takes no salary, travels in his personal jet on his own dime and visits his oceanfront estate in Naples whenever he can.
Scotts wealth obscures his humble background. Many of his constituents are unaware of his familys early struggles.
The son of a truck driver and a JCPenney clerk, Scott grew up poor and lived for a time in public housing in Illinois. He held all sorts of jobs as a kid, from peddling papers to cleaning phone booths, before saving enough money to buy two doughnut shops in Kansas City, Mo.
He was very close to his mother, Esther, who died in November. Recalling her life, Scott began to cry.
I think about my mom. Heres a lady that almost put me up for adoption when I was born, Scott said as his eyes filled with tears. She was going through a divorce. She never had money. She was scared to death to put food on the table.
Those experiences, Scott said, are why hes adamantly opposed to any tuition increases at Florida colleges and universities.
Somebody will say, Its only 8 percent more. Its only 150 bucks. Do you know how much money that is to people? People dont have 150 bucks, Scott said.
He gets it done
With the Governors Mansion elegantly decorated for the holidays, the governor and first lady Ann Scott hosted a four-course dinner for three dozen community leaders, including a college president, sheriff, school superintendent and mayor.
At the Nov. 19 event, the governor was more relaxed and jovial than he appears in public, telling guests the joy of seeing fourth-graders on mansion tours, that three presidents have stayed overnight and that the mansions most famous guest was actor John Travolta.
As salad was served, he boasted of the mansion chefs cooking skills, called him a chick magnet, and urged more people to run for office, as long as they dont run for governor.
This is the best job you can imagine, Scott said.
Republican activist Cindy Graves of Jacksonville, president of the Florida Federation of Republican Women, said Scott is an uncelebrated hero.
He tends to get the blunt end of every stick, Graves said. But hes calm, he gets it done and he doesnt whine. Is that sexy? Probably not.
Contact Steve Bousquet at email@example.com or 850-224-7263.