TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to leave Sunday for Argentina for a trade mission organized by the state’s embattled economic development agency.
Scott delayed the trip by a day to monitor wildfire conditions across the state, but he is also making the visit during a time when parts of his agenda remain unresolved in the waning days of the 2017 session of the Florida Legislature.
One of the items that Scott is battling over is whether to keep intact Enterprise Florida, the agency that put together the trade mission.
House Republicans are pushing to dismantle Enterprise Florida despite objections from both Scott and Senate leaders. Scott has strongly criticized House leaders including House Speaker Richard Corcoran over their proposal, contending it cost the state jobs.
During his trip to Buenos Aires, Scott is expected to meet with Argentina President Mauricio Macri and discuss trade opportunities, a spokesman for Scott said.
“Just like he has fought for jobs all session long, and has made his priority of job creation abundantly clear, Gov. Scott is going to Argentina to bring more jobs to Florida,” said McKinley Lewis in a statement.
Scott is expected to return to Florida on Thursday.
This is Scott’s 13th trip abroad since he became governor in 2011. Former Gov. Jeb Bush took 16 trade missions during his eight years in office.
He traveled previously to the South American countries of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, as well as Japan, Israel, England, France, Spain, Canada and Panama.
Scott is scheduled to be joined on his trip to Argentina by first lady Ann Scott, airport and port officials as well as top officials with several Florida-based corporations, including Eric Silagy, the president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility company.
While Enterprise Florida’s operations are primarily paid by tax dollars, Scott’s travel expenses are usually covered by private donations to Enterprise Florida.