Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Southeast, spoke at a luncheon for the Economic Club of Florida at the Florida State University Alumni Center April 10.
Bolivar provided remarks regarding the economic impact the seven naval installations in Florida have on the state and the local communities surrounding those bases.
“The economic impact of an installation is made up of payroll,” Bolivar said. “Not only active duty military payroll, but also retirees, civilians and contractors, along with the procurement of goods and services.”
Bolivar also gave insight regarding the specific the mission sets of each of the naval installations spanning from the Florida panhandle to the Florida Keys, and how overseeing these installations encompasses a lot of moving parts.
“It’s important to understand that running a base is like running a small city,” Bolivar said.
“We have our own public works centers, police and fire departments, medical and dental facilities, child care centers, swimming pools and golf courses, aircraft centers, runways and supply warehouses.”
Bolivar stressed how investment into these military installations in the form of defense spending has had a positive impact on the Florida economy as a whole.
“Defense spending was directly or indirectly responsible for $84.9 billion, or 9.2 percent of Florida’s 2016 gross state product,” Bolivar said.
“That spending is made up of procurement, salaries and pensions or transfer payments, which is all those retired veterans who come to settle in the state. Defense spending creates jobs in every Florida county, and most of those jobs are high wage positions.”
With the military having such a strong presence in the state, economics are not the only positive impact that these installations have had in Florida.
“Our Sailors, civilians and family members are active volunteers in the community,” Bolivar said. “They are coaching Little League, mentoring, reading to students, working with Special Olympics and more. The Navy holds an annual community service awards program and the Southeast Region consistently ranks high Navywide in the number of hours spent making our communities a better place to live and work.”
The Economic Club of Florida was established in 1977 is today recognized as one of the South’s most important forums for distinguished speakers on issues of the day.
The membership includes more than 350 of the Who’s Who of Florida’s capital city, including leaders from the halls of government, political strategists and the business savvy.
From past governors, cabinet members and Supreme Court justices to business owners, chairs and CEOs of companies and organizations, the membership covers those who are well-established and those who are the up-and-coming professionals in the political and business arenas.