DeSantis focused on education, tourism during stop in Tampa

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made stops in Tampa Monday to talk about education and tourism.

The governor also stopped by Tampa Bay Christian Academy, on N. Rome Avenue, to call for increased funding for Family Empowerment Scholarships.

He said 13,000  families are on a waiting list for Florida Tax Credit Scholarships, which allow families that meet income requirements to send their children to private or religious based schools.

The Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association and others oppose taxpayer money spent on the scholarships. However, DeSantis says he sees the scholarships as public education.

"We're giving scholarships to parents and they're choosing where to do it. so to me its public scholarships," said DeSantis. "And, the scholarship is less than it takes to put someone through the school district," he said.

DeSantis wants the legislature to appropriate money before the end of the current session to fund scholarships for everyone on the waiting list. 

Tourism was also on the governor's mind Monday. He spoke at Tampa International Airport where tourism officials said 126 million tourists visited Florida last year.

The governor said infrastructure like airports and highways are important to the tourism industry. He warned that environmental problems threaten to negatively impact tourism.

"Make sure our water quality initiative goes forward because if you have these algae blooms. That really does detract from tourism. Even if it's in specific areas, someone in a different state sees it and it's Florida. I think it's important to stay ahead of that," said DeSantis. 

While at the airport, the governor noted that as a kid, he took his first ride in an airplane here.

"It didn't look like this in the '80s," DeSantis joked.

The governor grew up in Dunedin, in Pinellas County.