Former Enterprise Florida CEO Gray Swoope (Tampa Bay Times File Photo)
A propaganda video that House Speaker Richard Corcoran is using to build support for killing Enterprise Florida includes a heavily manipulated quote that makes it appear that even the former head of the agency has turned on it, when he hasn’t.
In the 3 minute video, the former CEO of Enterprise Florida Gray Swoope appears to say “Enterprise Florida may have lost its way.”
But the quote is a trimmed version of the sentence he actually said and takes him out of context, Swoope told the Times/Herald in an interview.
The quote is taken from a television interview from 2013 in which Swoope actually makes the case that Enterprise Florida was getting the job done and deserved credit for helping the state rebound economically. Swoope said in the context of the interview it was clear he was talking about the agency losing its way before Scott hired him in 2011 to help change the organization.
“I, 100 percent, believe in the model,” Swoope said of what he thinks about Enterprise Florida now.
Corcoran’s spokesman Fred Piccolo, said they were not trying to make it appear that Swoope was against the agency now. He said they just were showing that at one point Swoope thought the agency had lost its way.
Here’s the full quote of what Swoope said in the 2013 interview on Capital Dateline, a cable television program:
“Well, first of all I think that for some time Enterprise Florida may have lost its way in not being mission focused. And one of the things I promised Gov. Scott is if given this opportunity that Enterprise Florida would go back to its true mission of being the private, not for profit organization that is focused on - laser focused - on job creation and trade development. And so if you look at the results over the last two years, I think the numbers speak for their selves. If people really want to look at it. If that’s their true meaning - do they want to understand what we do. Look at the number of projects. They’re up 40 percent. The number of jobs is up 74 percent. And capital investment - where businesses vote with their pocketbook - is up 95 percent in two years. I think that tells you there’s been a dramatic turnaround in the focus of Enterprise Florida.”
Here’s the video Corcoran released to House Republicans on Wednesday night during a closed door meeting.