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State CFO, gubernatorial candidate Sink speaks at island gathering

By Staff | Mar 23, 2010

Pictured with Florida CFO Alex Sink, left, are island residents Ellis Robinson, Judy Goldenberg, Barbara Cooley and Gillian Bath.

Current Florida Chief Financial Officer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink took dozens of local residents to school on the three R’s she said are necessary for revitalizing Florida’s sagging economy.

“I don’t mean reading, writing and arithmetic,” the former teacher said speaking at a March 22 event sponsored by the Democratic Club of the Islands at The Sanibel Community House. “I mean revive, remake and revitalize Florida’s economy.”

In order to put people back to work and lift Florida out of its financial straits, the state needs to build a new foundation one that does not rely so heavily on tourism and development, she told the audience. The immediate task at hand is creating and saving jobs, she said, by cutting red tape and improving access to capital for small business. Enacting tax incentives for businesses that create new jobs is also a priority.

And while tourism and real estate remain important sectors of the economy and should be expanded, Sink suggested more needs to be done to remake Florida in the long term. Attracting new industries, such as companies specializing in renewable energy through research and development tax credits, will be vital to diversifying the state’s economy. Investing more in higher education to attract these industries is also a top priority, said Sink, who is married with two college-aged children.

Lastly, reforming government to regain the confidence of a disillusioned public is also an essential part of her vision for Florida’s future.

Sink spoke at last week's gathering sponsored by the Democratic Club of the Islands.

“We have to hold the government accountable, including the governor’s office,” she said.

Sink, who has 26 years experience in Florida’s business and banking community before becoming the state CFO in 2006, promised to require performance contracts for all state mangers if she is elected governor.

To achieve these goals, Sink pledged to use a bi-partisan approach to solve Florida’s problems.

“I worked for years in the banking industry, which is filled with Republicans, and I got along just fine,” she said.

And like the private sector, the state could also benefit from a more businesslike approach to government. Sink added.

Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane addresses the audience.