Scott touts Jacksonville as area of opportunity

Gov.-elect Rick Scott brought his “Let’s Get to Work” jobs tour to Jacksonville Tuesday with a stop at Flightstar Aircraft Services at Cecil Commerce Center on the City’s Westside.

Scott is touring the state to talk with business leaders and citizens to find out what future they would like to see for Florida.

Flightstar headquarters was also the site for a private roundtable discussion with business executives from Boeing, Lockheed, LSI, Medtronic, Swisher, Georgia-Pacific, Florida State College at Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. News reporters were not allowed to attend.

“It appeared that he wanted to have time to talk to business leaders of Jacksonville and give us time to ask him questions,” said Tucker Morrison, executive vice president of Flightstar.

“Each business had their own questions about where the governor stood on taxes and capital investment,” said Morrison.

Instead, employees of Flightstar and the media were allowed to ask Scott questions inside the hangar where Flightstar refurbishes and performs conversions on commercial aircraft. AirTran and FedEx are two of Flightstar’s more recognizable customers.

The company has about 300 workers at the facility for the morning shift and the town hall meeting was scheduled for their break. The meeting was scheduled to take about 20 minutes, but Scott talked to attendees for about 35 minutes.

“It speaks to his effort to making the time to listen to the people of Florida,” said Morrison.

Scott began the town hall meeting by telling attendees what opportunities Jacksonville presents to business leaders.

“Cecil Field is a great opportunity. There are a lot of companies that are starting and expanding here,” said Scott.

“It’s a wonderful location because you have the third largest runway in the country. There are not many places like this because there are not many opportunities to build businesses around an airport,” he said.

“It is my job to let the country and the world know that Florida is open for business,” he said.

When asked about the future of gas prices and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, he wanted the decision back in his hands.

“Gas prices have gone up 10-12 cents just in the last week, so we have got to become energy independent,” said Scott.

“What was disappointing to me was that I was invited to the White House to meet with Cabinet members on Thursday. On Tuesday they put a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and they didn’t talk to Governor Crist and they didn’t talk to me,” said Scott.

“We have rights. But I am optimistic that we will be able to work with our legislators to move forward,” he said.

The tour will include 10 cities in five days.