Hi, I’m Governor Rick Scott.
Last week, Florida showed the world that we are the best state in the nation for being prepared for hurricanes and other emergencies. Because of the hard work by our state, local and federal emergency management teams, Florida was prepared for Isaac.
Our primary concern throughout the storm was the safety of the 19 million people that call Florida home, as well as the 1.5 million visitors we have in our state daily. Now that Isaac has passed, we are focused on making sure that the affected areas in our state recover. We have repeatedly seen that Floridians come together in a time of need. There are many ways you can lend a hand.
One way is to visit the website www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org to donate to Florida’s disaster fund, Neighbors to the Rescue. As always, you can also help by donating to an established relief organization of your choice. As Floridians, we know how devastating severe weather can be, so it’s important that we remain prepared.
Florida prides itself as being our country’s most military-friendly state. As governor, it is my job to keep it that way. The defense sector is the third largest economic generator for our state. In 2010, the total economic impact of Florida’s defense industry was $60 billion.
It is vital for our economy and security that our military installations and defense industry remain strong. As veterans, Lt. Governor Carroll and I also recognize the importance of supporting our military and their families. That is why we hold regular meetings with Florida’s top-level military personnel. These meetings have fostered more cooperation between the state and Florida’s military base commanders.
We understand that we all must work together to support servicemembers and their families. These meetings have also brought about new laws that help military spouses find work and ensure military children can succeed in our great schools. Thank you to everyone involved in making Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation.
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Throughout August, Florida families will be sending their children back to school. I would like to thank the Florida House and Senate again for answering my call to increase education funding in Florida by $1 billion. Education is one of the best investments we can make, and if we do it right, we’ll be sure to get a great return on that investment. We must continue to make educating Florida’s students a priority.
Ensuring the children of our state can get a quality education will pay off down the road, and it will ensure they are ready to compete for tomorrow’s jobs. With programs like last weekend’s sales tax holiday and summer literacy initiatives, we are working to help Florida families prepare their children for success in the classroom.
So, for everyone who is going back to school, or sending a child back to school – good luck! I hope for your success. And together we’ll keep Florida moving in the right direction.
In recent days, we’ve started seeing evidence that Florida is on the right track. A key indicator of this is our state’s ability to recruit and retain innovative and progressive companies that contribute to our economy and create jobs.
This week, I was pleased to announce two companies that have recently decided to invest and expand their Florida operations, bringing jobs into our state. Wawa convenience stores opened its first Florida facilities this week in Orlando and plan to expand to over 100 Central Florida stores in the next five years.
Digital Risk, a company already operating in our state, announced that they are expanding their Florida operations and adding high-paying jobs. The growth throughout Florida also demonstrates our success in maintaining a business-friendly environment statewide. It is clear that Florida is on the right track to getting back to work.
This week, I met with business and community leadership from counties in the Panhandle, North Central Florida and the Lake Okeechobee area. It’s always helpful to meet with Floridians to hear first-hand what we can do to help create jobs. Every day, I continue to work to make Florida the No. 1 state for business. It is our goal to ensure that every Floridian who wants a job has the opportunity to get one.
Having conversations with business leaders across the state allows my administration to better serve the people of Florida. I will work to continue this open dialogue that allows Floridians to hold their government accountable. I believe elected officials have a moral responsibility to help create an environment for businesses to succeed, and my administration will continue to do just that.
Next week, I will be leading an economic development mission to Spain. Along with a delegation of more than sixty Florida business leaders and economic development professionals, I will work to develop economic ties between Florida and Spain. The objective of this mission is twofold. We will promote the five-hundredth anniversary celebration of Spanish presence in Florida and further cement our cultural ties. Next, I will promote Florida as the ideal location for Spanish companies to do business.
Spain has been one of the fastest growing foreign investors in Florida in recent years. Well over 300 Spanish companies maintain operations in our state. Spain is also an important source of tourism to Florida and I will promote Florida as the world’s number one tourist destination. By developing and maintaining relationships with key economic partners, we can ensure that Florida’s economy continues to grow.