Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spent Thursday morning in Key West, or technically, on Stock Island, where he announced a $36 million grant for the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority to overhaul its water desalination plant on Stock Island.
Fifty or so city and county officials and administrators, utility executives and media representatives gathered at 11 a.m. at the water utility’s existing plant on Stock Island’s Front Street to hear from DeSantis as well as Ken Lawson, executive director of the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
Lawson detailed the mission and successes of the Rebuild Florida program that aims to help Floridians rebuild or replace homes that were destroyed or severely damaged in Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
“We have more than $90 million coming to the Florida Keys through Rebuild Florida,” Lawson said. “We’ve secured $35 million for affordable workforce housing and we’re not finished yet. The bottom line is, stand by the governor. We’ll do things the right way to help Floridians recover from these storms.”
Lawson acknowledged some of the delays and frustrations “because of the federal government and a lot of red tape.”
In answering a few questions from local media outlets following the announcement, DeSantis said he had not yet decided whether he will veto a bill that would prevent municipalities like the city of Key West from banning the sale of certain types of sunscreen.
“I haven’t finished looking at the sunscreen bill, and I haven’t made a decision,” DeSantis said.”We also have to look at the science behind it, and we want to be sure, from a public health standpoint, that we’re not sending a message saying not to use sunscreen.”
The governor last year supported Key West by vetoing a bill that would have prevented the city from banning single-use plastic straws. But the sunscreen bll could be different.