Gov. Rick Scott got a chance Thursday morning to tout his record, pose for photos and talk about issues on the minds of Hernando County business and government leaders.
Afterward, he visited a spec building in Wesley Chapel in Pasco County.
Scott, who is up for re-election this year, spoke for about an hour to about 100 guests invited to Silverthorn Country Club.
Hernando school superintendent Lori Romano thanked Scott for his proposed budget, which includes capital improvement dollars, as well as money for early education programs.
Scott talked about the reasons businesses should be drawn to Florida, such as a low crime rate, no state income tax and good weather.
Prior to his taking office, Scott said, the state did little to market itself to job creators. He said the state should do more bragging.
Scott said he remains focused on growing business.
"People who put money up, the people who have a new idea, the people who take risks, they create all the jobs,'' he said.
In Wesley Chapel, Scott helped Pasco leaders cheer the construction of a spec building, which developers have billed as the first major industrial project in the Tampa Bay area since the 2008 recession.
"We want more jobs. We need more jobs," said Scott, who reminded the group of VIPs huddled under a tent that his first term centered on that theme.
He congratulated Pasco leaders for creating an infrastructure to attract businesses.
"These companies want to do something quickly," said Scott, who held a baby boy as he mingled with the crowd afterward.
Scott was flanked on the podium by other political figures, including state Sens. Wilton Simpson and John Legg. and state Rep. Amanda Murphy, Pasco's newest lawmaker and a Democrat from west Pasco.
Scott's former nemesis, Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano, who held the House seat now occupied by Murphy, smiled and waved from the audience. His office will be the building's first tenant, with Fasano having signed a lease for 9,300 square feet that will house the new Wesley Chapel office.
The project represents a $15 million expansion at Compark 75 Industrial Park. Tilt walls are currently up on two new buildings totaling nearly 135,000 square feet.
Developers say the building provides a large amount of contiguous space that can be used to lure companies.
"In the past, companies have been interested in the Pasco job creation incentives, however, we have had very little product to show them for consideration," said Heidi Tuttle-Beisner of Commercial Assets Partners Realty, which handles leases for the park.