U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II addressed the House on April 24th in honor of Bay County's Centennial. The transcript of Southerland's speech is as follows:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I rise today to honor the place that I am proud to call home: Bay County, Florida.
One-hundred years ago today, Bay County was established by act of the Florida legislature, igniting a century of growth and opportunity for a close-knit community that still cherishes its rich history and traditions.
Bay County is located in the heart of Northwest Florida, overlooking 41 miles of sugar-white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico's emerald green waters. With an additional 270 square miles occupied by pristine lakes, springs, streams, and the magnificent St. Andrew's Bay, Bay County has become a national destination for tourists and their families, fishermen, boaters, and water sports enthusiasts.
While Bay County's beaches and diverse inland areas attract over eight million visitors each year, it is the people who live and work there that give us our unique spirit. A small community of little more than 11,000 in 1920, Bay County now embodies the drive of a diverse and growing population totaling more than 170,000 people.
Bay County's workforce is among the best educated and most highly prepared in Northwest Florida, with institutions of higher learning that rival any in the region. Its economic engine is fueled not by tourism alone, but also by thriving small businesses, nationally recognized companies, major manufacturers and one of the newer airports in the United States. And, as the home of Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Support Activity Panama City, and more than 22,000 veterans, Bay County enjoys a rich military history.
On this date, April 24, 2013, the day of Bay County's Centennial, I am proud to join with friends, neighbors, my family, and local and county officials from Panama City, Panama City Beach, Lynn Haven, Springfield, Parker, Callaway, Mexico Beach, and the unincorporated areas of our county to celebrate our proud past and bright future as we work hard to make Bay County a better place to live, work, and play.
I yield back the balance of my time.
To view video of Southerland's speech honoring Bay County's Centennial, please click here.