Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that local defense partners in Bay County were awarded $100,000 through Florida's Defense Reinvestment Grant. Bay County was one of 12 counties to receive a Defense Reinvestment Grant, which is designed to support military community relations in Florida, as well as promote economic diversification strategies in defense dependent communities.
The $100,000 awarded to Bay County will be used to reserve and enhance the missions of Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base, and attract and retain industries that are complementary to the installations' missions.
Governor Scott said, "These investments are key to sustaining Florida's military installations. Base Commanders, community leaders and other citizens with a vested role in Florida's military and defense industry know how critical the grants are to keeping our military families safe and secure. In Bay County, the military and defense industry supports over 27,000 jobs. I am deeply appreciative to Florida's service men and women, veterans and military families for their sacrifices and dedication to our great state."
Florida's military and defense industry is responsible for $73.4 billion, or 9.4 percent, of Florida's gross state product, which translates to jobs for more than 758,000 Floridians. In Bay County, the military and defense industry is credited with $2.58 billion in economic impact and 27,338 jobs. The reinvestment grant has been used for more than 15 years as a key tool in maintaining Florida's reputation as the most military-friendly state in the nation.
Senate President Don Gaetz said, "Governor Scott, Speaker Weatherford and I are committed to making Florida's communities the most military-friendly in America. As the sponsor of the enabling legislation, I'm keenly aware that the work of the Defense Support Task Force is critical to preserving and protecting Florida's bases and missions and I am grateful to the Task Force for making another significant investment in Northwest Florida."
Representative Jimmy Patronis said, "These grants go a long way in helping to preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have on Florida. I sincerely thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the value of our military communities and funding these important grant programs. In Bay County alone, this program continues to be highly leveraged with more than 14,000 volunteer hours registered by the 32-member Bay Defense Alliance Board. "
Representative Marti Coley said, "I am proud of Bay County's continued efforts to enhance the local economy through its partnerships with Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base. The grant will help strengthen the state's efforts to support our military communities and the men and women who serve our country."
President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, "The Florida Defense Grants Programs are incredibly important for our military and defense programs and the communities they support. The state's economy benefits greatly from our military installations, and supporting them through these grants helps those installations to operate at their highest levels. Additionally, the grants strengthen Florida's workforce through the skilled former military personnel who enter the employment market each year. Enterprise Florida is proud to support Florida's extensive military and defense sector."
Tom Neubauer, President of the Bay Defense Alliance said, "The Defense Reinvestment Grant program continues to reflect Florida's commitment to our military and national defense. These matching grants have leveraged local contributions and more than 14,000 volunteer hours registered by the 32-member Bay Defense Alliance board. This investment in Florida's defense communities helps ensure that organizations like the BDA are able to properly advocate for the important missions at Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base. I appreciate the steady commitment by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for ensuring that defense communities like ours are able to invest in the future our bases and protect military jobs in our state."
The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project prioritized basis, to communities hosting military installations.
Information provided by Governor Rick Scott's Office