This week, Gov. Rick Scott will head to the Middle East to honor Independence Day with members of the military from the Sunshine State.
Scott announced on Sunday that he will head to Kuwait to meet with members of the Florida National Guard and Army Reservists from Orlando stationed at Camp Arifjan and Camp Buehring.
The governor, who served in the Navy and who is currently running against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in one of the most closely watched races in the nation, offered his rationale for why he was heading to the Middle East to meet the service members.
“It is an honor to celebrate our country’s Independence Day with the brave men and women who are currently serving and protecting our freedom,” Scott said. “As a Navy veteran, and the son of a WWII veteran, I know how important it is to support our veterans, active duty military and their families, which is why I’ll never stop fighting to make sure Florida is the most military and veteran-friendly state in the nation. I look forward to spending time with our troops and making sure they know that Floridians appreciate their service to our country.”
The governor’s office used the occasion to showcase his record on veterans issues and trying to support the military community in the Sunshine State.
“Since 2011, under the leadership of Governor Scott, Florida has invested hundreds of millions in funding to support active military, veterans and their families – including more than $180 million in this year’s budget,” Scott’s office noted. “Funding in this year’s budget includes nearly $2.5 million to help veterans get a job to support their families when they come home. Because of Governor Scott’s focus, in Florida the unemployment rate for our veterans is a low 2.9 percent – nearly an entire percent less than the average veteran unemployment rate in the rest of the country.
“The governor has also invested in state veteran nursing homes including nearly $12 million in start-up funding and improvements for the states six homes – which all received a five-star quality rating last year,” Scott’s office added. “Recognizing that when one serves, the family serves too, the governor has championed support and services for military spouses and families including reducing professional licensing fees and requirements, as well as holding the line on college tuition and providing scholarships to gold-star families. Since 2013, Governor Scott has awarded more than 14,000 veterans with the Governor’s Veterans Service Medal for their service to the state and the nation.”
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.