KUWAIT – Gov. Rick Scott brought Florida coffee and orange juice to Florida National Guard and Army Reserve servicemen and servicewomen deployed in Kuwait to celebrate the Fourth of July.
“The National Guard has been deployed about 100 times since 9/11. A lot of these men and women have been deployed every three or four years," Scott said. "I am honored to be here.”
Scott arrived in Kuwait Tuesday and will stay through Independence Day.
While meeting with troops and military officials, Scott shared coffee from Lucky Goat, of Tallahassee; Buddy Brew, of Tampa; and Social Ground Coffee Company, of Jacksonville.
"As a veteran-owned company, we believe in giving back to our veterans and supporting our military," Marine Corps veteran and owner of Social Grounds Coffee Company Jason Kelloway said. "I’m proud to know that our coffee is being served to our brave men and women in Kuwait.”
Scott also brought fresh orange juice from Fort Myers' Sun Harvest Citrus and key lime pie cookies from Kristi’s Key Lime Cookies, of Naples.
“We can’t thank them enough for all they do serving our country, and we hope that our orange juice will remind them of home," Sandy Nicely, owner of Sun Harvest Citrus said.
Scott spoke to News 6 via Skype Tuesday after spending time with the servicemen and servicewomen.
Scott himself served in the Navy “towards the end” of the Vietnam War. He said he wanted to be with Florida’s men and women to show the state’s support for them.
On Florida’s school security issue, the governor said he is going to ask the Florida Legislature to allocate any surplus from the $67 million designated to the school guardian program back to individual school districts.
“Whatever is not used we’ll try to put back into the school system and we should know that in the next few weeks," he said. “I’ll be going to the Legislature to try and make that happen in time for this school year.”
The decision to extend federal-funding for hotels for families displaced from Puerto Rico was also a topic he has been watching closely.
Evacuees were displaced by Hurricane Maria in September and have been living in Florida and other states. They were set to be evicted from hotels funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency housing voucher program over the weekend. However, a federal judge in Massachusetts, granted a temporary restraining order on Saturday and another judge extended that stay through July 23.
Scott said he is convinced providing the temporary housing to Puerto Rican families is the right thing to do.
“My heart goes out to anyone who left Puerto Rico. That’s why we opened up those relief centers in Orlando and Miami," Scott said. “You have to do everything you can to take care of these families.”