Gov. Scott meets with ARC Gateway leaders before big job announcement

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Senate President Don Gaetz met this morning with leaders from ARC Gateway at breakfast hosted by Lewis and Belle Bear and Collier Merrill. The governor wanted to hear directly from the organization that helps adults and children in our community with developmental disabilities.

The primary focus was on the Governor’s efforts to reduce the longstanding wait list of those seeking help for Agency for Persons with Disabilities. Agency Director Barbara Palmer talked about the initiative to reduce the list, estimated to be about 900 people in our area alone, 22,000 statewide, now that the state budget has a surplus. She read a letter from one worker who is helping people that are now eligible for the state programs. The waiver specialist wrote about how much the services meant to her clients and overcome with emotion one mother was to learn of the care that her child would now receive.

“We live in a cynical world,” said Palmer, “but we are making a difference for people who waited years for services.”

She stated that they already taken 754 people–many of the most needy–off wait list and expect to take care of more than 1,000 by year end.

From that meeting, Governor Scott and Sen. Gaetz headed a press conference at the Pensacola Bay Center where they today the expansion of two
local, internationally-based companies, iGATE and West Fraser. The companies will be hiring as many as 485 employees in Greater Pensacola in the coming
months. The Chamber also announced that it has surpassed its Vision 2015 goal of creating 3,000 high-wage jobs – two years earlier than anticipated.

“Today’s announcement of more than 480 jobs being created in Pensacola is great news for the families living in the area and further proof that the
policies we’ve put into place over the last two years are working,” said Governor Scott. “I would like to thank iGATE and West Fraser for taking
notice of Florida’s improving business climate and making a tremendous investment that will get more than 480 Floridians the chance to pursue
their dreams in Florida.”