Rick Scott wants F-35s in Jacksonville - Florida Politics

Rick Scott wants F-35s in Jacksonville

Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined a chorus of state and national politicians calling for the selection of Jacksonville as the best location for the next Air National Guard F-35 Base.

Jacksonville is among five finalists for the base; Gov. Scott, well-connected in the White House, made his case Friday in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

“There is no doubt that Jacksonville and the 125th FW are the nation’s ideal choice for the basing of these aircraft,” Scott wrote, citing value-adds.

“The benefits of the 125th FW include the exceptional airspace and range capacity for training, low cost for facility construction and modifications, access to joint training opportunities, and the ability to meet other regulatory criteria,” Scott wrote.

As well, some local boosterism from Scott: “Florida’s First Coast is one of the best places in the country to live and raise a family.”

Scott follows in the recent footsteps of the man who hopes to succeed him as Governor: Adam Putnam.

“With Jacksonville’s unparalleled airspace and infrastructure, no other place in the nation is better suited for a new squadron of F-35 fighters,” Putnam wrote in July to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

The Florida Congressional Delegation likewise banded together in May with the same request. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham also urged officials to pick Jacksonville in 2016. State senators, lad by Jacksonville Democratic Sen. Audrey Gibson, also passed a resolution in March in support.

At stake: $100 million in estimated economic impact, 200 jobs, and — crucially — a guarantee of continued air presence once the F-15s are inevitably phased out.

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