February 1, 2011
Held at the River Club of Jacksonville, this year’s annual Pre-Session briefing was well attended by over 60 of Jacksonville’s business leaders, elected officials and candidates, including state Reps. Daniel Davis (R-Jacksonville) and Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville), City Councilman Ray Holt, Tax Collector (and mayoral candidate) Mike Hogan and Council candidate Sean Hall.
As one of AIF”s invited guest speakers, Representative Daniel Davis addressed the issue of Florida’s Housing & Transportation Trust Funds. Rep. Davis expressed his opposition to further raids that look to close the state’s budget shortfall. Emphasizing their importance in job creation, Davis said these funds "should be held sacred."
Rep. Lake Ray spoke to members about his continued initiative to develop Florida’s 14 deep water ports, adding that it was his intent to sponsor legislation in 2011 requiring each Florida port to develop a strategic plan. Rep. Ray also emphasized the need for measures that will speed up the approval of new projects, spurring economic development and growth in Florida.
Finally, AIF staff provided an overview of the top business issues anticipated to be addressed during the upcoming legislative session, which begins March 8. Speaking to immigration reform, AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jose Gonzalez cautioned against a rush to enact new legislation. "Our economy is so globally focused. We're very concerned about what an Arizona-style piece of legislation would do to Florida's economy." AIF’s Vice President of Political Operations, Ryan Tyson, also provided a brief overview of the 2010 Election Cycle, including initiatives to be undertaken by AIF’s Political Council in preparation for the upcoming 2012 election season.