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Politics

Carroll Plugs Florida's Aerospace Potential on D.C. Visit

September 27, 2011 - 6:00pm

During testimony Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to show growth in Florida's aviation industry,Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll highlighted a Brazilian aviation company that recently opened a manufacturing facility in Melbourne.

Her focus on the light-jet manufacturer Embraer was part of her appearance before the United States International Trade Commission.

Embraers substantial investment in Florida is bringing high-valued aerospace industry jobs to Floridas Space Coast and to U.S. companies in the supply chain, she said, according to remarks released by Gov. Rick Scott's office. And this is much appreciated in light of the end of the space shuttle program.

Carroll noted that Embraer's decision to embrace Florida -- and the 200 new jobs it's bringing with it -- comes as other aviation companies are leaving the U.S.

Last year, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. closed two plants in Wichita, Kan., after opening a 180,000-square-foot plant in Chihuahua, Mexico. Cessna Aircraft Co. laid off 700 in Wichita, while expanding by 750 workers in Chihuahua, and Bombardiers Learjet Division in Wichita will manufacture its new Learjet 85 business jet in Queretaro, Mexico, Carroll said.

Florida landed Embraers $50 million, 150,000-square-foot plant in 2008, in part by offering up to $11 million in state, county and local tax incentives for the project.

Carrolls appearance before the trade commission, in support of Floridas efforts to grow the jet-manufacturing industry, was one of a number of stops in the nations capital that focused on aviation, aerospace and the military in Florida.

The governors press office noted her itinerary included meetings with Air Force Assistant Secretary Terry Yonkers, Navy Vice Admiral Michael Vitale and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

These meetings focused on Florida military installations which are vital to the state's economy and the cornerstone of America's defense and aerospace industries, which, combined, employ nearly 1 million Floridians, wrote Lane Wright, the governors press secretary.

The talk with Bolden was considered mostly a courtesy discussion.

David Weaver, NASA's associate administrator for communications, said Carroll and Bolden, who have talked several times before by telephone, discussed their mutual belief that the future of aerospace on Floridas Space Coast is bright.

The experienced and dedicated Florida work force stands ready to tackle the challenges of building a 21st century space program, Weaver stated in a release. From the launch of a new commercial space industry to getting a new heavy-lift launch system off the ground, the administrator and lieutenant governor believe the future of business growth and job opportunities in Florida is bright."

Carroll chairs the Space Florida board, which creates public-private partnerships with commercial space and aerospace businesses.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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