On Friday, in Monroe County, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, convened a hearing on “Florida’s Coastal Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the Florida Keys.”
Rubio’s opening remarks as prepared are below:
Thank you all for being here, and thank you especially to our three witnesses.
Today, we will examine the unique opportunities and challenges facing Florida’s coastal economy in the Keys.
These islands boast truly Floridian industries such as fishing, diving and other activities that are directly and indirectly related to tourism. It is a mecca of small businesses that thrive on these industries.
But this enchanting chain also faces many challenges given its proximity to the mainland, and vulnerability to hurricanes.
The Florida Keys are a very special part of this state.
It is a place where generations of families have created traditions and memories on the waters.
This island chain is rich with history, beauty and allure, so it is no wonder that the Florida Keys welcomes tourists from around the country and throughout the world.
In fact, most estimates show that the Florida Keys attracts more than 5 million visitors annually.
Here in Florida, we take pride in being the “Fishing Capital of the World.”
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are approximately 4 million saltwater…