“I’m really happy to be here today to be able to announce that the state of Florida, through the Governor’s Job Growth Grant Fund, is going to be providing $3.2 million to Okaloosa County,” DeSantis said, “that will support the installation of road, rail, water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.” The money is specifically for businesses at the 10,500-acre Shoal River Ranch, located off Highway 90.
DeSantis prefaced his announcement with a discussion of the jobs needed in Florida. “One of the reasons we’re here today is because my view is we want to expand our industrial base in the state of Florida,” he said. DeSantis is unhappy with the amount of products in our country coming from places like China, so the focus is now on workforce education. While universities are a pathway for some, others can go directly into the workforce without going into debt, getting jobs such as truck driving, welding, and HVAC.
“You also need the infrastructure,” DeSantis said, adding that on to the workforce education.
Dane Eagle, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, was also at the conference. “[Major companies] want to come to Florida, but what they need is land,” Eagle said. “So, now we can point to Okaloosa County.”
DeSantis views this industrial site to be something the county and community can count on, as opposed to other industries, such as technology, that have the ability to pick up and move their sites.
“We have a governor that is not only leading the charge, really nationwide, but to us here at home, is a difference maker every day of our lives,” Okaloosa County Commissioner Mel Ponder said. The expectations for what to come in the county are high. “There’s nothing else this size with this much access to a major interstate in the state of Florida,” he continued.
In addition to his announcement, Governor DeSantis gave an update on the state of Florida as a whole. The state is expected to end the fiscal year, which ends in June, with a surplus of over $20 billion. More people are employed than were before COVID-19, and school enrollment has increased over the past two years.
“We govern this state on the basis of what’s in the best interest of the people of this state, not what some California-based corporation thinks,” DeSantis said.