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PRESS CONFERENCE: Senator Rick Scott Visits Eglin Air Force Base, Talks Local Issues

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) visited Eglin Air Force Base Saturday morning to meet with base, local and state leadership.

Senator Rick Scott met with the leaders of Eglin Air Force Base Saturday. 

Scott, a Naples Republican and former governor, told the press that the meetings with Eglin leadership were productive and helped him determine the needs of the military in Florida more broadly.

He also addressed the extension of the deadline for government funding that passed earlier in the week – and the methods used to keep the government open and operating. “We just got another [continuing resolution] done this week,” Scott said, “That’s not the way to run a government. What we need to do is pass a budget. Unfortunately, the way the Senate works right now, [New York Senator and Democratic Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer has made the decision that he doesn’t want to do that.” Ultimately, he believes a Defense spending bill is close to an agreement. “I’m actually optimistic that we will get that bill passed,” Scott said, “I think the top line has been agreed to.”

Scott also addressed Jack Posobiec’s comments at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Posobiec told supporters he wanted to “overthrow Democracy” in a speech at the meeting of conservatives. “I think we all here believe in democracy,” Scott said, “We have a great republic. I’m a kid that grew up in public housing and my mom told me that thank God I grew up in the United States of America because I could be anything. There’s no place in the world like this. This is it. We have things we have to improve, we have things we have to make better, we have a lot of things to work on, but the truth is there’s no place like home. There’s no place like the United States of America and this republic has worked and we’re gonna continue to improve it.”

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Okaloosa County Commissioner Paul Mixon, a leader in the fight to get more attainable housing in the Niceville and Crestview areas, reported the meetings with Scott and the Air Force Leadership on base were positive when it came to freeing up land for construction of homes. 

“If we can continue in our partnerships if we can continue to accomplish things for the greater good – then we are going to get farther than most places in our country,” Mixon said. He told reporters that the county, Air Force, and other local would-be stakeholders would have a meeting to brainstorm ways to move forward with a project on land where the Eglin Golf Course currently sits

RELATED: What Will Solve Niceville’s Workforce Housing Shortage? 

Update on Gas Stoves and Appliances

Okaloosa Gas Board Chair and Fort Walton Beach Chamber President-Elect Gordon King added that the group discussed Okaloosa Gas’ critical role in the base’s future. “I think [Natural Gas] has a good foothold in the State of Florida and it will continue to have a good foothold. Resiliency is a key component of natural gas for backup generators; the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day here, people use electricity, and we provide part of that fuel to make that happen,” King noted, “It’s much more efficient, it saves the environment because it emits much less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and we have a long, 200-year supply available to us. I don’t see supply going away any time soon.”

Okaloosa Gas supplies Eglin Air Force Base with natural gas and other industrial sites with natural gas, including the Shoal River Ranch, The Holt, Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Okaloosa Industrial Parks. 

Other leaders who attended the meeting included Panama City Native and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and District Two Commissioner for Okaloosa County Carolyn Ketchel

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