Senator Jack Latvala hasn’t officially entered the governor’s race, but he is making his way around the state, sounding like a gubernatorial candidate.
The Republican from Clearwater attended a meeting of just less than 100 people at the Rivertown Community Church in Blountstown. Blountstown is about an hour west of Tallahassee and is the home of fellow senator, Bill Montford, who planned the community meeting.
While speaking to the group, Latvala said changes may be needed to help bridge some gaps created by some Florida House members. Latvala took specific aim at House Speaker Richard Corcoran and the speakers efforts to eliminate Visit Florida, the marketing agency for the state to increase the number of visitors.
“I’m sure we’re going to have to come back next year and work on it a little bit. I don’t know the House speaker understands that or frankly cared. That’s the same House speaker who introduced a bill that would have eliminated Visit Florida, eliminated Enterprise Florida, eliminated every other economic, 18 other economic-development programs we have in Florida. And I’m not sure he cares,” said Latvala.
Latvala even took it a step further, saying the attempt to completely eliminate Visit Florida wasn’t for sincere reasons.
“In the case of that bill, and the House of Representatives’ efforts in the whole economic-development and tourism area, it was all about making political points, all about trying to make headlines, trying to raise your name identification, whatever. And what we’ve done is make a product that is going to be very hard to implement,” Latvala said.
During Session 2017 Speaker Corcoran explained his position on the matter. He said the people of Florida deserve to know how their money is being spent by state agencies and Visit Florida is not an exception. As the speaker pushed for more information from Visit Florida via public records requests, it was learned that Visit Florida had multiple contracts for more than one million dollars. Including contracts with rapper Pitbull, a London based soccer team and a car racing team.
Neither Latvala or Corcoran have entered the race for governor but there are plenty of rumors either or both may throw their names on the ballot. Latvala plans to make an announcement of whether he will or not on August 16.