In competition, it can be a good thing to have a friendly rivalry.
For eight years running, Texas has been the No. 1 state in job creation, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott thinks it's about time for Florida to take that title over.
Scott invited Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Destin on Monday to promote economic development in the two states and hold a small fishing tournament between the two state leaders.
"He's the governor that we're all competing with for jobs," Scott said of his Texas counterpart. "He's done a great job of creating an environment in Texas that it's a great place to build a business, and we're trying to make sure we're a little bit better so we had this fishing tournament."
The two governors went out on a nearly three-hour fishing trip aboard Capt. Brant Kelly's charter boat, the Relentless. On Scott's team was Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Reichenberg, and Perry's team featured retired Capt. Dan Moran, both of whom were injured in IED attacks in Iraq.
Perry caught the largest fish of the trip -- a red snapper that had to be thrown back because it's out of season -- but Scott's team caught the most fish.
"We caught the biggest fish. I thought that was the goal," Perry said. "However, to Gov. Scott's credit, they caught the most fish. They got the most action, we just got the biggest and the best, so I consider that to be a victory."
Perry was briefly stationed at Eglin Air Force Base 41 years ago but said Monday's trip was his first fishing trip out of the World's Luckiest Fishing Village. He said he was already planning a second.
"It was awesome. I wish we had had longer so we could have gone out farther," Perry said. "One of the things that Florida has that Texas doesn't is your beautiful white beaches, but also you get some real deep water out there. You go out 10 miles and you're getting 100 foot and plus. We don't have that. But with that said, we have the offshore rigs that are just artificial reefs so we have a huge amount of fish out on those reefs.
"We both have our upsides, but I do give Florida their appropriate kudos," Perry added. "They do have the prettiest beaches."
After the fishing trip, the two governors and their teammates met with community and business leaders from around the region for a late lunch at Harry T's in HarborWalk Village.
Scott said he expects to go to Texas this fall for a similar event on Perry's home turf.
"All we're here to do is promote more business for our two states," Scott said. "Florida and Texas are two states that know what it takes for you to succeed: lower taxes, less regula-tions, easier permitting processes, less litigation. We know if we do those things we'll have the two best places to do business in. We compete with Texas still, but eventually we'll be the models for the country, and this country will get turned around."
Reichenberg said he enjoyed his fishing trip with the two state leaders.
"It definitely wasn't as stressful as I thought it was going to be," Reichenberg said. "They're very relaxed; there was no talk of politics. It was really just banter that they apparently have a history between themselves and that was fun to see."
The fishing excursion was filmed for the Bass 2 Billfish series that airs on the NBC Sports Network. Scott said he expected the episode to air later this fall.
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