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Gov. Scott's new jobs chief keeps Texas prominent


Gov. Rick Scott's new jobs chief is picking up just where the old one left off.

In her second week on the job, Cissy Proctor, the new head of the Department of Economic Opportunity, delivered her first economic growth update to Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Thursday morning by continually noting how Florida’s economy compares to Texas.

Since Scott was elected in 2010, he has continually used Texas as the example of a state Florida needs to mimic for creating jobs. In his State of the State addresses and other speeches, Scott frequently talks about a friendly rivalry with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry about who has a better business climate.

“The growth of private sector jobs in November was the strongest we have seen since 2010,” Proctor said during Thursday’s Cabinet meeting. “Not only was it the highest we have seen, it was the highest number of jobs created in November of any state across the nation.”

Proctor was more than ready when Scott asked how Florida compared to Texas. Proctor’s power point showed Florida’s job gains – about 36,000 in November - compared to a handful of other states, including Texas, which had 13,000. In each of several slides relating to job growth or the unemployment rate, it showed how Florida was ahead of Texas in key indicators, a point Proctor highlighted repeatedly during her presentation.

Attorney General Pam Bondi jokingly warned Proctor to always be ready to show Florida compares to Texas.

“You should always know the answer to that because you’re going to get that at every meeting,” Bondi said.

Scott is a former Texan who attended law school at Southern Methodist University and once worked for a major Dallas law firm.

Scott named Proctor the new DEO executive director after former DEO chief Jesse Panuccio, who held the position since 2013, announced in December he would be leaving the agency. During the monthly cabinet meetings Panuccio regularly noted how Florida compared to Texas during presentations.