Orange County Executive Neuhaus delivers State of the County from the Middle East

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Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus delivered his State of the County Wednesday- from the Middle East.

News 12 has been told that the Navy reservist who serves as a lieutenant commander is on a mission in Iraq, but he's been in constant contact with staffers in Orange County.

The annual speech was administered through video conferencing and live-streamed on social media for the first time. It was nearly 2 a.m. in Iraq when he gave the speech.

Neuhaus discussed issues facing the county and outlined his goals for the coming year, including increasing tourism and development.

"The economy is still strong, tourism is growing phenomenally, we came here a few years ago and talked about how we should be investing more in tourism -- we have been," says Neuhaus.

Among those attractions is Legoland, which is scheduled to open in spring 2020. The attraction created 1,300 jobs.

Attracting visitors also means more development, including 19 hotels that are under construction, and more sales tax revenue trickling down to other municipalities helping to keep finances in check.

Democratic Minority Leader Mike Paduch says the speech may have missed the mark when it comes to the future of the county.

"He's got a lot of great plans, some of them are implemented, but where are we going?" says Paduch.

Neuhaus has been deployed since December and could return as early as July.





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