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Governor visits boat shop in Fort Myers

By Staff | May 30, 2017

If there’s something Florida Gov. Rick Scott loves most, it’s a successful small business that puts people to work, especially one that’s close to home.

That’s where Scott was Tuesday as he paid an early morning visit to Fish Tale Boats in Fort Myers as a tribute to the way it has created jobs. During a press conference there, he also discussed a myriad of state issues, including medical marijuana, a hot-button issue in Cape Coral.

Scott said it was nice to be around boats and that no matter what has happened to the economy, the most important thing his constituents want are good-paying jobs.

“Unemployment is down to 4.5 percent, almost a 10-year low, and we’re selling a lot more boats and homes and more people are moving here,” Scott said, adding that more tax cuts, including tax holidays for back to school and hurricane preparedness, are on the way.

Scott said the state must continue its momentum, but lamented how the state Legislature “turned their back” on two agencies, Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida, by slashing their budgets or not funding it at all.

“We need to continue to let our House and Senate members know the importance of job creation,” Scott said.

Fish Tale Boats, which sells and services high-end motor boats, has been in operation for 20 years and just moved to a new location late last year. It has 41 employees and expects to add at least three more this summer.

Owner Diane Fricke and her sons who manage the place, Justin and Travis Fricke, plan to open a new facility in Naples this summer, adding even more jobs to that.

“This continues our long-term commitment to Southwest Florida. The marine industry has an impact on Florida’s economy and the governor’s stop this morning recognizes that,” Travis said.

Afterward, Scott addressed the media on a variety of topics, including how slow the Legislature has been to implement medical marijuana, which was approved by voters in November with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Scott said they are reviewing the need for a special session regarding medical marijuana.

“There are a lot of people interested and involved in the issue. Anything that’s passed, it’s up to the legislative branch to do their job and make sure we got it done,” Scott said.

That marine industry is only as good as the water quality, which in Southwest Florida means cleaning the waters in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River.

There was Senate Bill 10, that provided storage south of the lake, and Scott said he allocated $200 million to help jump start fixing the Hoover Dike and is seeking help from President Donald Trump to provide the rest of the money.

Unfortunately, the state Legislature failed to put money in the budget this session.

“It’s something very important for the people in our state. The president has been a good partner and we have a good working relationship,” Scott said.

Scott also discussed the budget, fighting the Zika virus and its relation to pregnant women, terrorism and issues regarding immigration.