Republican Gov. Rick Scott is headed to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon to visit with eight members of Florida’s congressional delegation.
The topic: federal aid to prepare for and combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
“We’ve got to have a federal plan,” Scott told reporters on Tuesday. “My job is to help get the state prepared and that is what this trip is to do.”
Scott’s daily schedule includes meetings on Capitol Hill with only Republicans: U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, both of Miami, Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, Ander Crenshaw of Jacksonville, Tom Rooney of Okeechobee, Curt Clawson of Bonita Springs and David Jolly of Indian Shores, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
“It’s going to get warmer, we’re going to have more rainfall, we’re probably going to see more mosquitoes in our state,” Scott said Tuesday. “Our federal government has a variety of plans they’re talking about. ... We’ve got to address the Zika issue. Hopefully, we can get ahead of it.”
I think of it like a hurricane. The way you prepare for a hurricane is you get prepared.
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott
Scott did not specify what amount of funding or resources he’s seeking from the federal government.
“We’re working through our Department of Health and our mosquito boards — whether it’s more money for our mosquito boards, whether it’s to make sure they have the right testing kits or to make sure, if we have a significant outbreak, do we have all of the resources?” he said.
As of Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported 109 known cases of Zika. All were travel-associated from people returning to the U.S. from other countries; no one had contracted the virus in Florida.
Scott said the health department continues to work with local mosquito boards to get ahead of the virus, and he said it’s time for the federal government to step up.
“I think of it like a hurricane,” Scott said. “The way you prepare for a hurricane is you get prepared and the federal government needs to come together, work together and provide the funding for the things that are necessary to our states.”