NW Florida Fights for Military Jobs

Area leaders and Gov. Jeb Bush's office say they were misled into thinking there was a plan to bring in 2,400 new jobs to Eglin Air Force Base.

President George Bush signed the Military Base Closing Plan last year, but Florida leaders say they were surprised when a plan to move close to 3,500 jobs from Eglin to California's Edwards Air Force Base quietly surfaced this month.

The plan appears on hold for now, but anger about the proposal remains strong in the Northwest Florida region that twice helped secure Florida for the president in elections.

The governor says he is working through official channels, but had not yet asked his brother to intervene.

The 46th Test Wing tests bombs, missiles and other aircraft-based armaments, which includes some of the region's most high-paying, high-tech military and civilian jobs.

Some view the fight as a test of Northwest Florida’s political pull.

The military ranks behind only tourism and agriculture in economic importance to Florida, pouring $44 billion into the state's economy each year.


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