August 27, 2015
Tallahassee, Fla. – Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today announced its 2015 ‘Champions for Business’ award recipients. AIF gives these awards annually to recognize lawmakers who provide leadership on key legislation for the business community through non-voting actions.
“Each year, AIF looks forward to honoring those elected officials who defend Florida’s competitive climate and go above and beyond to make the Sunshine State a place where businesses and families can prosper,” said AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney. “AIF is grateful to this year’s ‘Champions for Business’ for both their hands-on and behind-the-scenes efforts to support business-friendly legislation. Each recipient has demonstrated a deep commitment to making a difference in the State of Florida by being strong and forceful advocates for the business community and working to allow Florida companies to have the ability to operate free of overly burdensome state regulation and taxation.”
The 2015 recipients include:
Governor Rick Scott is receiving his third AIF Champion for Business Award and is only the second Governor to receive the award in its 13-year history. AIF salutes Governor Scott for his steadfast leadership and staunch pro-business agenda, which has bolstered economic growth in the State of Florida. This legislative session, Governor Scott signed House Bill 33A, a broad-based tax package, into law. HB 33A will bring relief for many Floridians, from Florida’s farmers, to Florida’s students, and to any Floridian who owns a cell phone. Governor Scott’s legislative priority of reducing taxes on Florida’s families by more than $400 million will promote and solidify our state’s standing as one of the best to live and conduct business in.
Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award. President Gardiner’s leadership contributed to fostering a better business climate in Florida, as well as his work to pass meaningful health care reform legislation. Because of President Gardiner’s courage to face the debate, the Florida Senate developed market-based solutions for employers’ health care costs that passed through the Florida Senate with bipartisan support.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) is receiving his fifth AIF Champion for Business Award. Speaker Crisafulli showed critical leadership in fostering a better business climate in Florida, as well as for his effort in advocating for comprehensive water policy in the State of Florida. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) projects there will be a water shortage of more than 1 billion gallons of water per day by 2030, which makes efforts like Speaker Crisafulli’s critical to Florida’s future. With Speaker Crisafulli’s efforts, a science-based approach to addressing current and future statewide water needs passed the Florida House.
Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator Bean crafted the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange Act and led its bipartisan passage through the Florida Senate. This important legislation would provide a private-sector, free-market solution to address Florida’s health care marketplace by insuring more Floridians and alleviating the costs of uncompensated care, which burden businesses and families throughout the state.
Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) is a receiving her second AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator Hukill is recognized for helping to reduce taxes on Florida’s families and businesses by more than $400 million. HB 33A, a broad-based tax package designed to bring relief to Florida’s families and businesses, will promote and solidify our state’s standing as one of the best states to live and conduct business in. Senator Hukill worked very closely with the bill sponsor, Representative Matt Gaetz, during this year’s special session to pass a tax package that would not only fit within the state’s budget, but also give back to Florida’s families and businesses.
Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples) is receiving his fifth AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator Richter was instrumental in supporting the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation aimed at growing Florida’s onshore oil and gas industry, while providing safeguards for the environment. This legislation sought to revise the Oil and Gas Program under the DEP’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the Division of Water Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling, production and exploration activities within Florida. AIF supported the need to maintain appropriate permitting laws to protect the environment, to enhance efficiency between the industry and the state, and to ensure clear communication of appropriate standards.
Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) is receiving his second AIF Champion for Business Award. Representative Caldwell successfully sponsored HB 7003, which aims to create an interagency agreement to develop and implement a uniform water management system regarding water supply planning, consumptive water use permitting and any resource protection programs. Representative Caldwell’s legislation puts forth broad-based, comprehensive water policy for the State of Florida that takes into account current and future water needs.
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) is receiving his second AIF Champion for Business Award. Representative Gaetz exhibited significant leadership in reducing taxes on Florida’s families. His sponsorship and steadfast work on this legislation will promote and solidify our state’s standing as one of the best states to live and conduct business in. Representative Gaetz’s successful work on HB 33A will provide Florida families with more than $400 million in tax reductions.
Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award. Representative Rodrigues successfully championed the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation aimed at growing Florida’s onshore oil and gas industry while providing safeguards for the environment. This legislation sought to revise the Oil and Gas Program under the DEP’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the Division of Water Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling, production and exploration activities within Florida.
The awards were given at the Champions for Business Awards Reception at AIF’s 2015 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. Since 2003, AIF has given a total of 149 ‘Champions for Business’ awards to 88 different elected officials.
Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, AIF has represented the principles of prosperity and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920. A voluntary association of diversified businesses, AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth, development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.
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