Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who now heads a Coral Gables-based private investment firm, appeared before the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s mid-year meeting on Friday and urged an end to politics poisonous in America.
Bush, a Republican who served as governor between 1999 and 2007, and who dropped out of a hard-fought primary campaign that ended with rough-and-tumble President Donald J. Trump winning in 2016, said both major political parties are obligated to call elected officials who use bullying and vulgarity to advance.
He did not name Trump. But he said today’s political dialogue on TV and social media was hard to consume.
Vulgarity, he said, can attract bigger Twitter followers, but “it’s not a strength, it’s a sign of weakness. He said voters should “penalize” those who are vulgar and toxic.
“We have a duty to chase away ugliness. and it is at [political] parties to be able to do this,” he said.
The theme is familiar to Bush, who brought it to the fore during the GOP presidential primary nearly seven years ago and has continued to promote it since leaving public life.
“Let’s recognize that politics is a mirror of us,” he told an audience of more than 600 government officials and business people at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood. “It’s a by-product of our culture…If we want a better system, we have to treat people better. We must be honest and show courage.
He argued that more civility would help localities, whether local or national, like Broward County, “nationwide” more easily achieve their goals for voters.
His remarks elicited several rounds of applause.
Bush is chairman, co-founder and managing partner of Finback Investment Partners, in Coral Gables, which has equity interests in nine companies in areas including education, security, private and public sector procurement and aid. to home care, according to its website. One of his sons, Jeb Bush Jr., is a partner in the firm.
The former governor was asked to appear by Broward County Administrator Monica Cepero, who served as Bush’s adviser in Tallahassee.
Bush spoke the day the alliance, which is a public-private partnership designed to help grow Broward County’s economy by attracting new businesses to the area, announced it had begun its new fiscal year. helping locate businesses that had invested $19.9 million in the region while generating 757 new and retained jobs.
Companies aided by the alliance included:
- CIG Financial, an auto lending company with private, public, and independent auto dealerships across the United States. It will employ 30 people in Fort Lauderdale.
- Funtrition, a maker of gummy vitamin products, which will create 100 jobs, retain 42 jobs and make a $9 million capital investment in Miramar
- ICON International, a company that provides a barter service to businesses of all sizes and in all industries, that will create 100 jobs in Fort Lauderdale
- Norse Atlantic Airways. The new airline has set up its US headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and will employ 15 people. The Norway-based carrier plans to launch direct flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Paris, London and Oslo later this year.
- Pherros Biosciences, a biotechnology company that will develop and produce new drugs and treatments. The company will create 20 jobs and use 25,000 square feet of space in Deerfield Beach.
- An unidentified company codenamed Project Play, the maker of consumer products including plush toys, action figures, collectibles and musical instruments at Plantation. The company intends to create 150 jobs and retain 75 employees on its current payroll.
- West Marine, a national brand that operates a chain of boating and fishing supply stores, is moving its national headquarters to Fort Lauderdale, creating 225 jobs.
Other companies that recently announced expanding their presence in the Fort Lauderdale area include JP Morgan Private Bank and TD Bank. The Yacht Portfolio, a maritime investment firm that manages the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, will move its headquarters from Miami to downtown Fort Lauderdale next year.
In addition, a survey of Broward executives conducted by Kaufman Rossin, the CPA and consulting firm, found that nearly 74% of Broward executives who responded expect economic performance this year to exceed that of from last year. But employee retention is the number one issue facing businesses. Other employee issues, including recruitment and wages, follow closely.
The main area that companies plan to invest in over the coming year is technology, with marketing, salaries and recruitment all tied for second in importance.