More than 1,200 individuals have applied to the recently restored Florida State Guard to fill 400 volunteer opportunities– and among its latest new Guards is a previous New York local who stated he relocated to the lower-taxed and less regulated “free state of Florida.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis restored the state guard to decrease the problem of an overstretched and understaffed Florida National Guard and to employ military personnel being displaced from the U.S. armed forces over the federal vaccine mandate, he stated.
Florida has among the most understaffed National Guards nationwide, with the 2nd worst resident-to-guardsman ratio. Its force of approximately 12,000 soldiers is presently a ratio of one guard member per 1,750 Floridians.
“The U.S. military has been kicking out great service members over the Biden administration’s unacceptable COVID vaccine mandate, and they are even targeting members of the National Guard,” DeSantis said. “The bureaucrats in D.C. who control our National Guard have also refused to increase the number of guardsmen despite our increasing population, leaving Florida with the second worst National Guardsman to resident ratio. By reestablishing the Florida State Guard under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Graham, we have a great opportunity to expand our capability to help people in times of need or disaster.”
Adjutant General of the Florida National Guard Jim Eifert stated the Florida National Guard remains ready to assist however has actually been stretched paper-thin. Over the past 30 years, it’s reacted to over 90 state emergency situation activations, amounting to more than 1.5 million workdays. Almost one-third of those days took place in the last 2.5 years, he stated.
Designating more nationwide guard slots to Florida “hasn’t been something Congress or the executive branch has been willing to do,” DeSantis said. “In the meantime, we saw an opportunity to say, ‘we don’t want to have military imposing some of this stuff with the vax, we understand there’s going to be more people out of work and we need more support … and the easiest way to expand the National Guard was to restart” the state guard, he said.
DeSantis tapped retired Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Graham to lead the state guard, developing it from the ground up. Graham will serve as the right-hand man of Eifert, who likewise acts as the commanding general of the Florida State Guard.
Graham stated it was his objective that “every person in Florida who wants to help” applies to sign up with the state guard.
Among his latest employees is a former New York State Guard member and former New York citizen who moved to Florida, Paul Hansen.
Hansen stated he relocated to Florida for “many of the usual reasons. Sunshine, winter baseball and the opportunity to keep a little bit more of what I earn. It’s the governor’s leadership that for me was the deciding factor, not just on this issue but also on a lot of things we’ve seen over the past few years.”
Florida does not evaluate an income tax on employees in the state. New York assesses a graduated earnings tax rate of as much as 8.82% depending upon a person’s earnings.
Hansen signed up with the New York State Guard in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and revealed his interest in utilizing his abilities in the “free state of Florida.”
“State guards are not unique,” he said, adding that nearly half of the states have them. “But it is a uniquely American institution that exists within the framework of our federal system.”
Florida joins with 22 other states and areas that have state-level defense forces.
The state guard will be accountable to assist Floridians throughout emergency situations and natural catastrophes, specifically throughout cyclone season. They can’t be released by the federal government or serve beyond the state, however, will be equipped like the Florida National Guard, DeSantis’ office stated.
The legislature authorized $10 million to train and hire 400 volunteers– however, the action has actually been so excellent that more than three times the number of individuals required for readily available slots have actually applied.
The $10 million is “just the beginning,” DeSantis said, adding that the legislature will likely be expanding the available state guard slots in the next legislative session.