Posted: Monday, October 26, 2009
U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and George LeMieux said today the Northwest Florida region is destined to become a world-class home for new aviation and aerospace jobs. In conjunction with an announcement a new alliance between four states including Florida, Florida's two U.S. senators cited the area's new international airport and its being home to key military installations and major aerospace and defense companies.
Their bipartisan comments came along with U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd ( D-North Florida ), the governors of Alabama and Mississippi and officials in Louisiana announcing the formation of an Aerospace Alliance between their states and Northwest Florida. The alliance establishes each state's Gulf coast region as part of "a world class" aerospace and aviation corridor."
"Coupled with the recent announcement by Southwest Airlines of service to the new international airport in Northwest Florida, the formation of this alliance demonstrates a growing momentum that places the region and its assets center stage," said Nelson, a Democrat. "When the rest of the world has the opportunity to hear about our tradition of excellence in aerospace and aviation, we'll attract even more quality jobs and opportunities."
Said LeMieux, a Republican, "The aerospace industry is key to Florida's long-term growth, and this alliance is an important step in moving Florida into a new, more prosperous future. As a state, we need to retool and invest in a new generation of industries that build on Florida's highly educated and motivated workforce. Northwest Florida has a long history of strong support for our nation's armed services, and local leaders have worked successfully to recruit and retain high-paying defense and aerospace jobs. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Washington and local leaders in the region to ensure the success of this effort."
Boyd added, "This multi-state alliance builds upon some of the characteristics North Florida is best known for and will pave the way for breakthroughs in the fields of aerospace, aviation and national defense. "I'm confident this partnership will be a catalyst for continued economic growth throughout the region, bringing new jobs, new ideas, and new incentives for business development to the area," Boyd said.
The alliance includes business leaders, economic development professionals and government officials who will promote the four states traditions of excellence in the aerospace and aviation industry. The states are home to some of the world's most advanced aerospace installations, a number of key NASA facilities and numerous military installations critical to the Department of Defense flight missions and training. Plus, the region offers easy access to all U.S. and global markets via air and deep water ports.
Northwest Florida in particular is an exceptionally strong aviation, aerospace, defense and national security region, Nelson, LeMieux and Boyd said. Between Tallahassee and Pensacola there already are seven military installations, 400 aerospace and defense companies, 1,900 vendors, contractors and businesses providing essential support and a 70,000-person-strong aerospace and defense workforce, they said.
The establishment of the four-state aerospace corridor was first conceived at the 2009 Paris Air Show, a gathering of the world's aerospace industry.
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