Air Date

December 11, 2020

Featured Guest

Scott Franklin
U.S. Representative, State of Florida


Neil Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Congressman Scott Franklin, a representative from Florida's 15th congressional district, knows a lot about the business community. He's owned and operated a small business in Lakeland, Florida for the past 20 years. He’s also a veteran who served as a Naval aviator in combat operations in the Gulf, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

In addition to being a military and business leader, Scott Franklin is a community leader. His leadership roles include the Lakeland Economic Development Council, the Rotary Club, and senior leadership at the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. Neil Bradley, chief policy officer and EVP of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sat down with Congressman Franklin to discover his answers to questions about business, leadership, and progress in the government.

A Job Means Everything to Congressman Franklin’s Community

“I don't think you can overstate the importance of jobs,” said Franklin. “A job provides freedom, it's opportunity, it's self-respect, it's dignity, and it's the fabric of our community. Everything really starts with a job.”

“I think we owe an eternal gratitude to entrepreneurs and small business leaders who are willing to take on those risks to provide jobs for their communities,” he added.

Franklin’s Favorite Book Teaches Important Lessons

Franklin struggled to narrow down his favorite book, as dozens have been influential to him.

“If I look back over my life … I would say the books by Stephen Covey and the Covey Institute [are my favorite],” he said. “I've always found those to be outstanding to help drive me from a personal level, particularly ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’”

Advice Franklin Received Years Ago Helped Him Decide to Enter Politics

“I had two gentlemen come up and give me advice one after the other [at my Naval Academy graduation party]," Franklin said. "And at the moment, neither piece of advice really resonated … [but it] helped me later on when I made the decision to run for political office.”

The first, from a veteran Marine who fought in Vietnam, advised Franklin to “go experience this Navy career, run it as long as you want to, but realize that the world out there needs leadership.” The second was simply, “timing is everything.”

Franklin asserted that those pieces of advice helped him make career decisions; to have the courage to leave active duty and come back to Lakeland, to grow a business and recognize the need for leadership in the federal government, and to step up to the plate.

Franklin’s No. 1 Goal in Congress Is to Make Progress

In Franklin’s mind, “the lack of civility and the discord has taken a front seat over actually solving problems.” However, with his incoming class’s above-average percentage of veterans, Franklin believes the training they’ve received in their background will facilitate them in coming together for a common cause, solving problems, and focusing on the mission at hand.

“Hopefully two years from now we'll see a country that is a little less polarized … [more] able to address issues civilly [and] find opportunities to work across the aisle,” he continued. “That that's something I really want to work on with my colleagues … [to] see the country healed and on a better course.”

20 Years As A Small Business Leader Has Prepared Franklin for Congress

“I think my business experience is going to be invaluable,” Franklin said. “Small business owners really understand the issues the community faces … We feel that the impact of decisions that come out of Washington, whether it's too much regulation or bureaucracy or just bad trade decisions.”

Franklin, who ran an insurance and risk management operation through ups and downs, including the Great Recession, understands a variety of different business types knows how to make the hard decisions.

“My job all along in my last profession has been to help business owners look at the risks that they face and be as successful as they can,” he said.