On Wednesday, Feb. 8. a bill was proposed to defund Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The corruption and wasteful spending in both agencies has run rampant and is beyond the point of excessive. It is our duty as legislators to pay attention to the wasteful spending in government and hold those accountable with those dollars to be 100 percent transparent.

However, the bill proposal ALSO kept funds that had to do with all of the rural counties, which is what House District 7 is made of. Rural North Florida is of utmost importance to me and continuing to find marketing dollars for our rural counties is one of my top priorities. Nothing is more important to me than helping promote and protect our way of life here.

Everyone that has called to voice their concerns has listened to the talking points that the advertising businesses who stand to lose money have distributed. I urge each of you to read the bill. For example, the Rural Economic Development Initiative and the Regional Rural Development Grants Program, both which have to do with rural and North Florida are being kept (and there are more). These funds already directly assist the rural counties. My ultimate goal is to help put more money in those funds so that our local communities can continue to use the dollars to market their rural counties. I strongly believe the local chamber of commerce’s and economic development councils know best how to market their areas, not a big agency.

Please email me or feel free to call our office about this matter if you have further questions or need more reassurance marketing dollars for North Florida are not going away.

Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, has represented the 7th District in the Florida House of Representatives, which includes Franklin, Calhoun, Gulf, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties, since 2012.