By DOTTY NIST
May 29 was a red-letter day for Walton Women Republican Women Federated (WRWF) members, with Florida first lady Ann Scott paying the club a visit for tea at Cuvee Catering in Miramar Beach.
Club members and their guests got the chance for photographs with the first lady, and afterwards she spoke to the group.
While joking about her ability as a public speaker, Ann Scott appeared relaxed and friendly as she addressed attendees. She talked very little about politics and mainly about her life and family.
“I have been incredibly blessed,” she said.
Growing up in Dallas, Texas, she learned some key values from her father, including the importance of hard work, treating others the way we would like to be treated, and that “anything worth doing is worth doing well.”
Six months after moving to Kansas for her senior year of high school, she had met Rick Scott. Two years later they were married.
She recalled using the camping furniture and sleeping bags that the couple received as wedding presents for home furnishings as they started married life in Newport, R.I., where Rick was stationed after joining the Navy. “We saved every penny we could,” she said.
Both pursued their studies, Rick law school and Ann community college with her husband’s encouragement. Later, she earned a degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
The couple have two married daughters and three grandsons. “We love being grandparents,” Ann enthused.
While she had been apprehensive about giving speeches, Ann said she knew that as Florida first lady she wanted to focus on her passions, reading and literacy. She has done so by visiting schools all across the state to encourage students to read and write. She told the group that, as of last week, she had visited 150 schools in all 67 Florida counties. School children are hosted at the Governor’s Mansion as well.
Promoting the adoption of foster children is another passion for the state’s first lady. “I believe every child deserves a warm and loving environment in which to learn and grow,” she said. Ann Scott has worked to support Liberty Youth Ranch, which houses abandoned, neglected, abused and orphaned children in Collier County.
“I also take pride in supporting the state’s military men and women,” Scott commented, adding that she particularly enjoys getting to know military members.
She urged attendees to share the story of Florida’s economic turnaround under her husband’s leadership, as well as show support for the state’s “wonderful teachers and students,” and “brag about our state.”
Scott concluded by saying what an honor it is for her to serve as Florida’s first lady, “and one that I do not take lightly.”
By DOTTY NIST