Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this morning he will be leading a “trade mission” to New Orleans to “meet with Louisiana companies to share how Florida is making it easier for families and job creators to succeed and why they should consider moving their operations to Florida.” And that has Gov. John Bel Edwards steamed:
“Rick Scott was Bobby Jindal’s biggest cheerleader and surrounds himself with the same set of advisors who turned Louisiana’s $1 billion budget surplus into a $3 billion budget deficit. We’re happy to have him visit Louisiana and see for himself all that Gov. Edwards has done to turn this state around — record low unemployment, higher wages, historic economic development announcements and stabilized funding for higher education. However, Gov. Scott should call this what it is — a fundraising stop on his yet-to-be announced U.S. Senate campaign. Louisianans would appreciate the honesty and hope that he’ll take his political contributions and leave.
“Instead of fundraising, we recommend he spend time with the first responders we willingly dispatched to Florida last hurricane season when his state needed assistance.”
This isn’t Scott’s first time playing the domestic “trade mission” gambit — Scott did the same thing to Louisiana in 2016, as well as to another state with a Democratic governor, California.
As to Edwards’ reference to Scott’s “advisors,” Scott is close to Taylor Teepell, one of the top advisers to Jindal’s 2016 presidential campaign. In Aug. 2017, The Miami Herald reported that Scott had named Teepell to the Florida “Department of Economic Opportunity,” a $110,000 job — “but he had no experience in development or land planning — which the director of the Division of Community Development oversees,” the Herald wrote. Teepell now works for the “New Republican Super PAC”, which was founded by Scott.
Of course, having a GOP governor coming to Louisiana to poach companies will be a nice cudgel for any Republican who chooses to run against Edwards in next year’s election, of whom there should be several.