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AIF Releases Champions for Business Awards and Vote Records 

June 30, 2005

TALLAHASSEE – For the second year, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has selected its “Champions for Business.” This award is presented to elected leaders who display exemplary efforts on behalf of the business community by providing leadership in supporting free-market principles. 

This year’s winners are:

Governor Jeb Bush
Speaker Allan Bense
Representative Frank Attkisson
Senator Mike Haridopolos
Representative John Stargel
Representative Fred Brummer
Senator Jeff Atwater
Representative Don Brown
Representative Joe Pickens
Representative Dwight Stansel
Representative Holly Benson
Representative Rene Garcia
Representative Dennis Ross

Again this year the AIF Legislative Team selected those legislators who are deemed strong and forceful advocates for the business community. In our collective wisdom, these twelve legislators and Governor Jeb Bush are the epitome of what a “Champion for Business” should be. Whether they proposed an important bill, authored a key amendment, or toiled behind-the-scenes, these legislators are the ones who made a difference this session.

“This year’s “Champions for Business” award winners were singled out for their dedication to a free-market economy, whether it was repealing an onerous tax or supporting a change in our legal system,” said Barney T. Bishop, President of AIF. “The issues for the business community are many and touch on the areas of insurance, health care, taxation, fair competition and the environment. Our “Champions for Business” are true Champions in these areas and we thank them for their commitment to do what is right for the State of Florida and the business community.”

AIF also released its 2005 Voting Records, which the association has been publishing for almost three decades.

The Voting Records, an annual legislative ranking of the Florida Legislature on business issues, is one of the tools that AIF provides to enable the business community to see how legislators vote on major business issues.

The report shows an overall pro-business ranking of 89% which is the same as last year. Both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate score rose from last year; the House from 84% to 88% and the Senate from 86% to 90%.

“The Voting Records is a report on the votes made by every legislator on bills that were lobbied, advocated, promoted or opposed by AIF. By reporting on 8,092 votes on 84 bills, this report embodies the most exhaustive and complete record of the Legislature’s approach to the concerns of Florida’s employers,” said Jon L. Shebel, the Chief Executive Officer of AIF.

In the House, a total of 40 Representatives tied for the highest overall score of 100 percent an increase from the 26 Representatives in the 2004 Session. The lowest score goes to Representative Dan Gelber (D) who had only 47 percent.

In the Senate only two Senators received perfect scores, Senator Mike Bennett and Senator Lisa Carlton. However, the lowest score was still very favorably for the business community with Senator Les Miller (D) who had 72 percent.

“The Voting Record is an important tool, but not the only tool, which AIF, our PAC, and our members should use to decide which legislator, will be supported and which will not,” noted Shebel. “For example, this year 38 of the 40 Senators and 90 of the 120 Representatives, scored 75% or better.” Voting Records are reviewed from past session to see if the legislator consistently supports the business community.

For a complete listing of the 2005 “Champions for Business” publication and the Voting Records you can go to AIF’s Web page (http://aif.com)

Associated Industries of Florida is a statewide employers association representing 11,000 businesses that range from large multinational corporations to small family-owned enterprises. AIF is commonly known as “The Voice of Florida Business.”