This week eight local leaders will travel to Tallahassee with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce to share our priorities with legislators and state officials. It's a critical part of the advocacy we undertake to promote the ideas and opinions of local businesses. We know most business people cannot take three days to head to our state capital and we take the job of representing Manatee County interests very seriously.
The itinerary for the trip includes visits with our local delegation -- Sens. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa; Reps. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton; Greg Steube, R-Sarasota; and Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg -- as well as more than a dozen other House and Senate members who are working on issues important to Manatee County businesses, e.g. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg (transportation) and Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples (healthcare). We're also meeting with the FDOT secretary and senior policy adviser, and have invites extended to Florida Cabinet members. We'll stop in to see our friends at the Florida Chamber for a briefing and discussion of expected -- and unexpected -- happenings from the first three weeks of the session.
New this year is a reception in conjunction with the Florida Chamber and partnered with the Sarasota Chamber/Sarasota Tomorrow with the two counties' state delegations -- open to the public -- on Wednesday. The purpose is to communicate common Manatee and Sarasota Chambers' issues of importance.
The Manatee Chamber has a deliberate, thorough process of choosing which issues are included in our state and federal platforms each year. Our legislative committee vets issues in areas like economic development, transportation, education, natural resources, healthcare and regulation. This year our top four are economic development, transportation/infrastructure, taxation and workforce readiness. Manatee County businesses people will walk many miles in the halls of the Capitol, Senate Office Building, House Office Building and Burns Office Building talking with officials about ways the state can support businesses, job creation, and quality of life.
For member businesses that need an easy way to communicate with our elected officials, the Manatee Chamber has a
tool on our website that facilitates sharing ideas with government officials. Members simply type in their contact information and message and then choose which local, state and/or federal officials they'd like to receive the communication. The more our elected officials hear from businesses, the better the outcomes we'll see at all levels of government.
Throughout the fast-paced 60-day Florida legislative session, the Manatee Chamber monitors bills on a daily basis to be prepared for targeted advocacy efforts on behalf of Manatee County businesses. We rally business leaders to contact our elected officials so that their opinions are top of mind when decisions are being made in Tallahassee. It's one of the most important aspects of our mission and we encourage the continued involvement.
For information, please contact Neil Spirtas, senior vice president, Manatee Chamber at 941-748-3411 or NeilS@ManateeChamber.com.
Bob Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, can be reached at BobB@ManateeChamber.com