Valued Member,

The Tampa Bay Chamber is driven to fulfill the promise of shared regional prosperity – a heavy lift, but one that we cannot do without well-informed and energized members. To accomplish more, we need greater transparency around policy progress and setbacks. We believe all elected officials should embrace and courageously support strong, empowered local government because it is the right thing to do and because the future of our region depends on it. As a politically active but non-partisan organization, we push for progress with members of both parties in each legislative delegation: Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas. No matter how often a legislator voted for or against the Chamber’s positions, our door is always open to dialogue.

Key Votes 2021 reflects the actions of our State Representatives and Senators on bills impacting the Chamber’s members, partners and community stakeholders. We will continue to meet with and work with all members of the legislature to share the stories of our members and to build bridges toward a unified, thriving Tampa Bay. If your lawmakers didn’t support the Chamber’s positions, call them, discuss the impact to our communities, and tell them your concerns and priorities. And if your elected officials showed up for our community, please call them to thank them.

Bob Rohrlack, DBA, CCE
President & CEO
Tampa Bay Chamber

Yvette Segura
Chair
Tampa Bay Chamber

For a summary of the Chamber's federal, state and local key issues, see the Chamber's Legislative Agenda.

Find more about the Chamber’s policy initiatives.

Policy Council

Co-Chair
Kimberlee B. DeBosier, PE – WGI

Co-Chair
Rita Lowman – Pilot Bank

Chamber Chair
Yvette Segura – USAA

Chamber Chair-Elect
Andrew J. Mayts Jr. – Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Chamber Treasurer
Brian Butler – Vistra Communications

President & CEO
Dr. Bob Rohrlack, CCE – Tampa Bay Chamber

Vice President, Advocacy
Nicholas Glover – Tampa Bay Chamber

Policy Council Members

  • Rebecca Arends – Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A.
  • Lori Y Baggett – Carlton Fields PA
  • Chris Bailey – Spectrum
  • Debra Bauman – Skanska USA Building Inc.
  • Joshua Baumgartner – Tampa Electric |TECO Peoples Gas
  • Matthew Blair – Corcoran Partners
  • Dr. Sandra E. Braham, Ed.D – Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services
  • Jeff Chernoff – IAT, Inc
  • Sarah Combs – University Area Community Development Corp.
  • Michael Corcoran – Corcoran Partners
  • Robin DeLaVergne – Tampa General Hospital Foundation, Inc.

  • Maryann Ferenc – Mise en Place, Inc.
  • John Flanagan – CareerSource Tampa Bay
  • Matt Floyd – Port Tampa Bay
  • Kimberly Guy – St. Joseph's Hospital HQ
  • Jamie Harden – Creative Sign Designs
  • Charles Hokanson – Helios Education Foundation
  • Lauren K. Key – AdventHealth
  • Cathie Koch – Bloomin' Brands
  • Christopher Minner – Tampa International Airport
  • Marilyn Mullen Healy Esq. – Akerman LLP
  • Jessica Muroff – United Way Suncoast
  • Aakash Patel – Elevate, Inc.
  • Brant Peterson – Peterson Properties & Management
  • Mark Pitts – Coca Cola Beverages - Florida
  • Jim Porter – Akerman LLP
  • Lynda Remund – Tampa Downtown Partnership
  • Liz Reynolds – USAA
  • Clara Rienhoff – Highwoods Properties, Inc.
  • Christopher Rogers – Sykes Enterprises Incorporated
  • Jack Rybicki – CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)
  • William J. Schifino Jr. – Gunster
  • Dr. Jeffrey Senese – Saint Leo University
  • Andrew W. Smith – Goldman Sachs
  • Ryan J. Toth – The Beck Group
  • Lauren L. Valiente Esq. – Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Dr. Jamie Wilson – Moffitt Cancer Center HQ

An integral component of the Tampa Bay Chamber’s mission is to communicate the views of the business community to our elected officials. Our Advocacy group identifies, prioritizes and recommends policy to our Board of Directors for those issues that affect our local economy, business environment and quality of life in Tampa Bay.

The Chamber’s Key Votes 2021* tracks legislators’ votes on bills related to our Legislative Agenda’s guiding principles:

  • Business & Economic Development,
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,
  • Heath Care,
  • Military & Defense,
  • Transportation,
  • Workforce Development & Education, and
  • Workforce Housing.

Key Votes tracks whether legislators voted for or against the Chamber’s legislative priorities.

We hope Key Votes 2021 provides some background and accountability in the efforts towards the priorities of the business community in Tampa Bay. This is not an exhaustive review of every bill considered or that we supported or prioritized during the 2021 legislative session, nor is it a complete picture of a legislator’s record on issues related to the Chamber. Rather, Key Votes provides a useful snapshot of which legislators side with the Chamber on full floor votes.

Conclusion

We thank the legislators who supported our legislative efforts. We hope Key Votes 2021 adds another dimension to assessing legislators’ track records when viewed alongside scorecards from our allied stakeholders and regional partners. We look forward to working with the Florida Legislature in the 2022 session to continue the work of ensuring a strong and vibrant business community in Tampa Bay.

Please Note

Key Votes 2021 is not a voter guide. While the Tampa Bay Chamber hopes this vote tracker will help you understand more about the legislative process in order to become a stronger advocate, it only tells part of the story when it comes to electing individual legislators. When accessing the qualifications of any candidate or incumbent, voters should consider matters such as performance on committees, constituent services, and positions on all matters in addition to those included here.

Name Party District Local Delegations
Mike Beltran Rep 57 Hillsborough
Linda Chaney Rep 69 Pinellas
Ben Diamond Dem 68 Pinellas
Nick DiCeglie Rep 66 Pinellas
Fentrice Driskell Dem 63 Hillsborough
Dianne "Ms Dee" Hart Dem 61 Hillsborough
Traci Koster Rep 64 Hillsborough, Pinellas
Chris Latvala Rep 67 Pinellas
Andrew Learned Dem 59 Hillsborough
Randy Maggard Rep 38 Pasco
Amber Mariano Rep 36 Pasco
Lawrence McClure Rep 58 Hillsborough
Michele Rayner Dem 70 Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Sarasota
Chris Sprowls – House Speaker Rep 65 Pinellas
Jackie Toledo Rep 60 Hillsborough
Susan L. Valdes Dem 62 Hillsborough
Ardian Zika Rep 37 Pasco

Name Party District Local Delegations
Jeff Brandes Rep 24 Pinellas
Jim Boyd Rep 21 Hillsborough, Manatee
Danny Burgess Rep 20 Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk
Janet Cruz Dem 18 Hillsborough
Ed Hooper Rep 16 Pasco, Pinellas
Darryl Ervin Rouson Dem 19 Hillsborough, Pinellas
Wilton Simpson – Senate President Rep 10 Citrus, Hernando, Pasco

Guiding Principle

Economic development and business thrive where regional collaboration is strong, regulatory and tax burdens are minimal, right to work laws that protect our citizens remain in place, and wages are market rate. Businesses locate and expand in areas where these factors exist.

The Chamber Supports

  • Legislation that would limit the liability of businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits.
  • Legislation that strengthens Florida’s local governments and economic development.
    • Augment the hiring of students to work on those projects.
    • Adequate support for Enterprise Florida.
    • The flexibility that Florida’s Home Rule powers give municipalities.
  • Phased initiatives to reduce the tax burden on commercial real estate leases.
  • Policies that support keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay.
  • Recognizing community quality of life as an economic development driver.
  • Revenue generation opportunities to offset tax losses due to COVID-19.
  • The State exercising its discretion to incentivize the resurgence of the cruise industry.
  • Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion to be used for:
    • Office space on a college/university campus.
    • Research with professors applicable to business.
  • Matching dollars for Port Tampa Bay projects.
  • Restoring arts & culture matching grants recommended by the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs.

Guiding Principle

Equity and inclusion drives business competitiveness, job creation, increases diverse employee populations, and promotes inclusive economic growth. The Tampa Bay Chamber is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. The core value of being a diverse and inclusive community is critical to the region’s success.

The Chamber Supports

  • Community Partnership Schools, which are a priority in some of our most vulnerable communities.
  • Creating pathways for non-violent ex-offenders to reenter the workforce and become productive, self-sufficient citizens.
  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation trade exams being offered in Spanish.
  • Streamlining the process of becoming a certified minority- owned enterprise.
  • Regional workforce development initiatives that build diverse talent and are inclusive of groups of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised such as minority populations.
  • Remediation and improvement of access to Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • Policies that enhance job flexibility for parents with open cases in the child welfare system of care.
  • The facilitation of minority business growth and development.
  • Funding for corporate, non-profit, and quasi government board preparedness and training for diverse candidates.

Guiding Principle

The Tampa Bay Chamber supports reducing the cost of health insurance to the business community by increasing access to quality health care for all Floridians, and legislation that gives our health care providers the infrastructure and regulatory environment needed to best serve our community.

The Chamber Supports

    • Policies to enhance access to critical health care services via telehealth, including behavioral health services.
    • A pathway to reimbursement for hospitals caring for post- acute care patients awaiting safe discharge.
    • Mitigating the growing health disparities due to the current pandemic.
    • The Florida Hospital Association’s policy to repeal the administrative burden required of non-profit hospitals in Florida regarding property tax exemptions.
    • The Florida Hospital Association’s opposition to the creation of Advanced Birth Centers in Florida.
    • Transparency in health care costs.
    • Increased behavioral health funding.
    • Medicaid funding and expansion of eligibility criteria to address the State’s growing health insurance gap that coincides with the increase in unemployment.

Guiding Principle

The Tampa Bay Chamber enjoys a close working relationship with MacDill Air Force Base – a vital part of our nation’s defense that has a $3 billion impact on the Tampa Bay community. We understand the importance of supporting our brave men and women and their families who serve our country and call our community home. As a Great American Defense Community, we will continue to support policies and investments that strengthen the defense community in Tampa Bay.

The Chamber Supports

  • Adequate transportation options for Military families in Hillsborough County, including:
    • A MacDill Ferry Connection.
    • Optimization of circulator routes for high density military populations in East/South Hillsborough County.
  • Creating a business climate to attract the U.S. Space Force and secondary/auxiliary industries.
  • Opportunities that support veteran and military spouses seeking gainful employment and pathways to entrepreneurship.
  • The need for federal budget certainty and predictability to help our defense community plan, implement, and enhance its support of MacDill Air Force Base.
  • Legislation that creates a uniform framework for recognizing servicemember academic credits and waives transfer of transcript fees for service members and their dependents.

Guiding Principle

Transportation is a core service of government that is critical for economic development and facilitating the efficient movement of goods, people, and services. Sufficient transportation funding of all options is needed to implement a robust and connected transportation network in Tampa Bay. We will work diligently to inform our elected officials that investments in regionally focused transit agencies are an opportunity for the expansion of resources, not replacing them at the county transit agency level.

The Chamber Supports

  • FDOT exemptions related to roadway shoulder use for express bus service.
  • Multi-modal transit options and stations to support those options.
  • Preserving sufficient Right of Way along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando for high speed rail.
  • Protecting the State Transportation Trust Fund.
  • School route safety enhancements.
  • State regulation of peer-to-peer operators including language requiring operators to enter into an agreement with airports.
  • The autonomy of local jurisdictions to provide adequate transit options for its citizens.
  • The continued study of the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Significance (M-CORES) Infrastructure Program.
  • Ensure investments are made in our transportation infrastructure (airport, highways, port) for recovery of the lost gas tax and other transportation revenues.
  • State funding for transit.

Guiding Principle

The business community must partner with stakeholders and policymakers to advocate for adequate resources to help recruit, develop and retain talent in Tampa Bay. Plans must be in place today to train and reemploy the workforce of tomorrow. The Chamber looks forward to supporting policy that strengthens workforce development and education.

The Chamber Supports

  • Bridging the digital divide.
  • Continuous policy guidance for schools related to COVID-19.
  • Expansion of online learning infrastructure.
  • Flexibility to implement the instructional requirements related to mental health education, substance abuse education, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and human trafficking education.
  • Including industry certification and skilled training in school and district grade calculations as an additional student success measure.
  • Legislation that authorizes public schools to offer coding as a second language and colleges/universities to accept coding as a foreign language credit.
  • Prioritization of early learning (Pre-K – 3), as per the Department of Education guidance.
  • Removal of punitive laws that suspend driver’s licenses for non-payment of civil fines.
  • STEM education programs, with an emphasis on starting in middle school, to strengthen equitable access to high quality workforce-related skill sets.
  • Funding for the successful consolidation of the University of South Florida under one accredited university.
  • Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion to be used for:
    • Augmenting the hiring of students to work on those projects.
    • Office space on a college/university campus.
    • Research with professors applicable to business.
  • Pursue state funds in support of district-identified pilot programs.
  • The appropriation of funds to help alleviate the impact COVID-19 has had on school districts.

Guiding Principle

Developing a sustainable inventory of workforce housing is vital to the continued growth and success of Tampa Bay’s business economy. Our region’s economic success and continued growth over the last twenty years have resulted in rising housing costs, forcing our workforce to live farther away from employment centers. Increasing the inventory of attainable housing for working families earning incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income, is critical to our region’s ability to attract and retain talent, improve quality of life, and to continue to successfully compete in the market economy.

The Chamber Supports

  • Legislation that prevents the Legislature from diverting the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund.
  • Policies and budget prioritization that facilitate the development of, and access to, workforce housing.
  • Waivers to activate irregular sized parcels for affordable and workforce housing.

A significant goal of the Tampa Bay Chamber has been to establish Memorandums of Understanding and formal partnerships with other community partners and organizations that share our desire and vision for a united, strong voice for business in our region.

We’re proud to say that we currently have Memorandums of Understanding with the following community partners: Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, Greater Plant City Chamber
of Commerce, Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, Indo- US Chamber of Commerce, North Tampa Bay Chamber, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Uptown Chamber of Commerce, Westshore Alliance, and Ybor Chamber — making up over 10,000 members.

Memorandums of Understanding with these chambers and business organizations do not necessarily reflect agreement on the legislative priorities or positions detailed within Key Votes 2021.

Top