Florida should “succeed” – not “secede” – says the Florida Chamber of Commerce, countering a Tallahassee billboard suggesting the Sunshine State break away from the United States.
“Succeed Florida” is a shared video message issued by the Chamber and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) that points out how the state has become a “national model for economic growth, job creation and academic achievement.”
The three-minute video was in response to a billboard that popped up in the weeks prior to the start of the 2014 Legislative Session. The sign, sponsored by the League of the South, was visible on Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, just blocks from the State Capitol.
Prominently featured on the billboard was the word “Secede” and the website DixieNet.org.
In response, the Florida Chamber and ICUF collaborated on a “Succeed Florida!” billboard in Tallahassee.
“There are some who would like to see Florida fail, and even break away from the rest of the country. At the Florida Chamber, we share their frustration with Washington, D.C., but seceding is not the answer,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“Instead, we must continue down the path that has opened doors of opportunity for Florida’s families and businesses. We are succeeding, and we will continue to lead this nation back to prosperity.”
Noting that more than half a million jobs in Florida have been created in the last three years, the Chamber also points out the state’s unemployment rate has been cut almost in half, from a little more than 11 percent to 6.1 percent.
As for education, student graduation and retention rates have steadily improved at Florida’s post-secondary institutions, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, which help meet an increasing workforce demand. Job demand in Florida is also at an all-time high for the fourth month in a row.
ICUF institutions award nearly 38 percent of the state’s STEM degrees, which they say is a key component of economic development.
According to a March 25 study by the University of Central Florida Institute for Economic Competitiveness, Florida’s economic recovery is outpacing the nation due to declining unemployment, job growth rate and positive economic activity.
“In spite of what is happening in our nation’s capital, Floridians should be proud of the tremendous growth and accomplishment our state has achieved in recent years,” said ICUF president Dr. Ed Moore.
“Washington should take note of what we’re doing in Florida because we’ve got the right formula to prepare our students for successful careers, ensure there are ample employment opportunities to keep them in the state and help our businesses grow and thrive,” he added.
The video is also available on YouTube.