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Andrew Gillum sees Enterprise Florida, VISIT Florida as ‘tools’ cities need

While attending the ribbon cutting of a new high-tech center new Kissimmee that has at least $75 million in state and local taxpayer money behind it, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum praised such incentives and two embattled state entities, Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida, as tools that cities need.

Gillum, the Democratic mayor to Tallahassee, was on hand in Osceola County Thursday for the ribbon cutting on the new BRIDG high tech manufacturing center heavily subsidized by Osceola County, Florida and the University of Central Florida.

“The truth is as a mayor you know you need every tool in the tool kit in order to recoup economic development,” Gillum said. “As a mayor, I wouldn’t take any of that out.”

Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida, of course, are the economic incentives and marketing entities caught in a monumental inner-Republican Party war between House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who wants to abolish the former and significantly restrict the latter, and Gov. Rick Scott, who is barnstorming the state to save them.

“Where I differ with both the governor and the speaker of the house is that, where we have failed is we have not created the kind of talent pool need in this state in order for the jobs we do bring to the state of Florida to fill the pipeline of workers to take those jobs,” Gillum said.

Gillum’s platform has included strong pushes to improve public education and vocational education throughout the state.

“So that’s what makes being here really interesting, in that we’re recruiting high-tech, we’re leading to high-tech manufacturing, but it’s going to be critically important that we also focus on training  of the workforce that’s going to be needed,” he added.

 

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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