Posted by: Tampa Bay Chamber on Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22, 2019

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On July 15th and 16th, 30 Chamber representatives and staff members were in Washington DC meeting with several government entities and advocating on behalf of the Tampa Bay business community.

The first meetings were held at the Florida House on Capitol Hill; there is only one State Embassy in the nation and it belongs to Florida! There, they heard from policy leaders from the Department of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation and Hiring Our Heroes regarding the Corporate Fellowship Program. DHS briefed the group on their blue campaign to combat human trafficking. HUD was joined by senior executives from the National Association of Realtors and the National Homebuilders Association to discuss national trends as it relates to workforce housing. DOT and the Federal Transit Administration addressed ways we can start leveraging our local sales tax investment for matching grants. Following the presentations at the Florida House, the group toured the Capitol.

Later in the afternoon they met with Helena Zyblikewycz, Staff Director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She briefed them on the committees work and the challenges associated with a national infrastructure package, but offered insight into how we can best advocate for transportation projects in Hillsborough County.

They then met with the following House Members; Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Congressman Greg Stuebe, and Congressman Ross Spano. Each member gave updates on their legislative priorities and committee work. The Chamber also informed the members on our federal priorities as it relates to Transportation, Workforce Development, Military and Defense, and Workforce Housing.

Tuesday started with meetings at the US Chamber of Commerce. They heard from Julia Barfield on Education and Workforce, Ron Eidshaug on Congressional and Public Affairs, and Jon Baselice on Immigration Policy. You can find the bios of the speakers and links to the relevant organizations and campaigns here.

Following the presentations at the US Chamber, the group signed pledges at the White House to America's Workforce in the Eisenhower Executive office building. 25 members and businesses from Tampa Bay signed the pledges committing to offer training and workforce opportunities to strengthen the economy and ensure one of America's greatest assets - its workforce - is prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The final meetings were held with Florida Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. The group met with both Senators in the Senate Small Business Committee room (this committee is chaired by Senator Rubio). The Senators addressed their legislative priorities and the Chamber shared our priorities in Transportation, Military and Defense, Workforce Housing and Workforce Development.

The trip ended with a tour of the Pentagon. It was a packed two days in DC but the members gained valuable insight into the priorities of our federal representatives and ensured Tampa's priorities were shared. For any questions regarding the Chamber's stance on policy and advocacy, please reach out to Nicholas Glover, VP of Advocacy at (813) 276-9457.

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