— Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
The problems and ramifications of illegal immigration are documented (excuse the pun), but not so for legal migration. You know, the incongruities from residents of restrictive blue states relocating to freer red states, like Florida.
While the national media vilifies Florida as a wild west frontier, people are visiting here in droves – and settling here too. Just look around Nassau County.
In July alone, more than 400 different people purchased properties here, coming from as far away as California, Oregon and even Hawaii, according to records. And they are not just moving to the population centers of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island and Yulee. Plenty are heading to the wide-open spaces of Callahan, Bryceville and Hilliard.
In July, residents of Austin, Tx., Buffalo, N.Y., and swanky cities like San Francisco and San Diego bought houses in Callahan. Not to be outdone, Hilliard attracted newcomers from Oregon (one from the embattled city of Portland), as well as from Midland, Tx., and from upstate Washington.
Yulee has also been a popular destination. Buyers there have covered most of the country, from Kenosha, Wisc. to Fall River, Mass. to Golden, Colo. Also, they’ve come from St. Paul, Minn. and Chesapeake, Va. and Irvine, Calif.
Meanwhile, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island have drawn newcomers like honey to swarming bees. More than half of the 400 monthly newcomers headed to these premier island destinations – representing some 30 states.
For any area, it’s favorable to be growing, prospering, albeit in a manageable fashion. The people moving here are not the potential problem, as much as what they bring with them. Such as the tried-and-failed policies from the blue states many of them are leaving.
This is potentially a game-changing issue, like a detour from a 16-car pileup on I-95. Even more than negative impacts like over-crowding and congestion.
It’s already happening in Fernandina Beach. Only half of the registered voters are Republicans now, according to the Supervisor of Elections office (it didn’t used to be this way). The remainder is divided evenly between Democrats and independents. Furthermore, two city officials are from California (Mayor Mike Lednovich) and Connecticut (city manager Dale Martin) – both left-leaning areas.
Within the county, the voter population is still mostly conservative, with 70% being Republicans. This has traditionally been the case here. If an area where people are moving is built on conservative values, it’s reasonable to think newcomers would want to adopt similar policies and mindsets.
And not bring the big-spending, high-taxing, bloated-government policies with them. Or else Florida’s future may look a lot like New York and California before long.
Ironically, even illegal aliens want to come to Florida. Some 70% of illegals choose Florida when asked about their preferred destination. So we are obviously doing something right, by not being too far left.
Let’s face it, people are going to continue moving to Florida. Aside from widespread freedom and liberty, we have warm weather and spectacular beaches and a booming economy. We already are a melting pot, so there is no reason to change this recipe. Just bring desirable ingredients with you – that’s all we ask.
We treasure lower taxes and fewer regulations, and more liberty. And we don’t want to awaken some morning to a woke environment.
Newcomers are especially welcomed since most of us once were one. Florida is one of the most transient states, second to only Nevada in non-native residents.
In other words, many residents here came from elsewhere. Florida is also a prime destination for foreign real estate buyers. So the melting continues in the simmering pot known as Florida – a red state that is proud to wear that color.
Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a regional brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in North Florida and in South Georgia, and on his website at SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]