Gov. Rick Scott awards millions in aid to protect military bases

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Governor Rick Scott is doling out $2.59 million to protect Florida military bases from any closure or realignment actions taken by the Department of Defense.

The money is being awarded through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant program and will fund 13 projects to strengthen bases in the state.

“We will continue to work to make Florida the best place in the nation for military service members and their families to live and work, and this $2.59 million in Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants will further help us support our military installations. Florida is home to more than 758,000 service men and women, and we thank them for the sacrifices they make to keep our state and nation safe,” Scott said in a statement Monday.

The move will protect more than $73 billion in economic impact.

The 2011 Florida Defense Support Task Force makes recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, military retirees and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.

“The work of the Defense Support Task Force is critical to preserving and protecting Florida’s bases and missions,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. “As the sponsor of the enabling legislation, I am especially grateful to our Senate appointees James Montgomerie, Judge Patt Maney, Tom Neubauer and JR McDonald. Their hard work and commitment to keeping Florida the most military-friendly state in our nation will produce lasting dividends for our military personnel, retirees and their families as well as Florida’s economy.”

The awarded funding is intended to further Florida’s reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation.

In all ten counties received a grant, which will be utilized to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations.

The 2014-15 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants were awarded to defense partners in Polk, Brevard, Duval, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Clay, Hillsborough, Escambia, Orange, and Bay counties.

“The Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program has been instrumental in supporting our local military installations and military families. These grants will make an immediate economic impact on our state’s economy and will bring security for thousands of hard working Floridians,” House Speaker Will Weatherford said.

This grant program is administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis, to organizations and communities working to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations and missions as well as improving the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, families and veterans.

“These grants are vital to our military and defense programs, and the local economies that rely on the operation of those facilities. Because of the grants, military communities around the state are able to improve working environments for Florida’s service men and women. Florida’s military and defense sector is one of the strongest in the country because of our commitment to preserve and protect our military installations. Enterprise Florida, through its work with the Florida Defense Task Force, is committed to supporting these critical assets,” said Secretary of Commerce and president & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope.

Enterprise Florida is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders. It is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida and facilitates job growth for Florida businesses through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]