2021 Annual Report

Catalyst

Accomplishments & Successes

  • Hosted public policy events to ensure members have a better understanding of how the Chamber advocates for our members
  • The Tampa Bay Chamber was instrumental in the successful passage of the interlocal agreement and extension of the public-private partnership in support of the expanded ferry service
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced the funding and acceleration of two of the Chamber’s key transportation priorities, the Westshore Interchange and the Downtown Interchange
  • In partnership with WFLA and USF’s St. Pete campus, the Chamber hosted the St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate

Legislative Events

The Chamber hosted our annual Legislative Kickoff reception with nearly 240 attendees, expressing important issues for the business community.

The Chamber’s  (along with our Transportation Council and Policy Advisory Committee) hosted an informative update on The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling on All for Transportation.

The Chamber held a very informative Public Policy Roundtable titled, “The Intersection of State and Local Education Policy” featuring Florida Department of Education’s Jacob Oliva, Chancellor of K-12 Education, and Addison Davis, Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Our annual Face the Chamber breakfast with Mayor Jane Castor was held in-person and boasted 240 attendees, achieving 95% of plan.

The Tampa Bay Chamber hosted a PRO Act update feat. Glenn Spencer, SVP of Employment Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A successful Legislative Wrap Up was held, featuring 11 senators and representatives from Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas, moderated by Peter Schorsch, publisher of Florida Politics.

In partnership with WFLA and USF’s St. Pete campus, the Chamber hosted the St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate on Oct. 11. WFLA livestreamed the debate.

Hosted successful Fireside Chat with Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, yielding 300+ registrants and multiple earned media pieces, including a Tampa Bay Times article post-event and an op-ed coauthored by Sheryl Sandberg and Bob Rohrlack about how Facebook and social media can help support local businesses.

Local Advocacy

The Chamber’s Advocacy team wrapped up our Tampa Bay legislative delegation one on one meetings. The team met with nearly every legislator in our tri-county delegation, detailing our priorities this session and providing our full 2021 legislative agenda.

Ahead of the start of this year’s session, the Policy Advisory Committee hosted the government affairs leaders of Hillsborough and Pasco counties, Jim Taylor, and Ralph Lair, respectively. Our guests discussed their county’s priorities and ways the Chamber could support.

The Chamber’s Policy Council hosted guest speakers from the City of Tampa: Abbye Feeley, Director of Development & Growth Management, and Vik Bhide, Director of Mobility. Our speakers’ presentations centered on “Balancing Growth and Mobility for our City and Region”.

To ensure the voices of the business community were heard re: the proposed fossil fuel and fossil fuel infrastructure ban, the Chamber hosted Tampa City Council member Joe Citro, environmental groups, members from impacted industries, and statewide trade associations – Ultimately Councilman Citro elected to withdraw the resolution.

The Chamber’s Transportation Council issued a transit survey to Board members, Policy Council, and Policy Advisory Committee participants to ensure alignment of advocacy efforts, and in preparation for the 2022 legislative agenda submission.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors approved the Policy Council’s 2022 Legislative Agenda, titled Key Issues.

Key Issues

Hillsborough County Commission Chair, Pat Kemp, presented to the Chamber’s Transportation Council an update on the Cross Bay Ferry and potential expansion of service from South Hillsborough County to MacDill Air Force Base.

The Tampa Bay Chamber was instrumental in the successful passage of the interlocal agreement and extension of the public-private partnership in support of the expanded ferry service from Tampa to St. Petersburg, and separately from South Hillsborough County to MacDill Air Force Base.

The Tampa Bay Chamber has Memorandums of Understanding with 11 organizations who are all focused on the best interests of the Tampa Bay region.

National/State Advocacy

The Chamber’s Policy Council hosted Senator Jeff Brandes (FL Senate – D. 24) for an engaging conversation ranging from his “Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID” legislation to criminal justice reform. 

The Chamber’s Advocacy team met with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in an effort to pursue either legislative relief or a departmental rule change that would require the State of Florida to track military spouse unemployment.

Policy Council prepared a white paper regarding the PPP Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) credits to educate members that refers them to qualified Chamber members.

The Chamber participated on the Chambers for Clean Energy & Innovation’s 2021 Legislative Briefing webinar with Senator Jeff Brandes and Senator Jason Brodeur.

As a convener, the Chamber hosted Rep. Kathy Castor and Tampa Bay community leaders in a focused strategy session to discuss MacDill AFB as a candidate location for the KC-46 Pegasus tanker.

The Chamber’s Policy Advisory Committee hosted an engaging discussion, moderated by Gina Evans of Tampa International Airport, about the present and future state of the hospitality & tourism industry from Tampa Bay’s leading tourism executives. We also learned of the policies at the local, state, and federal level driving the industry’s resurgence. Panelists included: Santiago Corrada – President & CEO, Visit Tampa Bay; Steve Hayes – President & CEO, Visit St. Pete Clearwater (VSPC); Bob Morrison – Executive Director, Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association.

The Chamber’s Transportation Council hosted Chris Rall, Outreach Director for Transportation for America. Rall provided Council members with a federal transportation and infrastructure update.

Chamber staff moderated the launch of the Florida Race to Zero campaign kickoff. The Race to Zero is an initiative led by the mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Miami and Orlando, aimed at getting the State of Florida closer to carbon neutrality.

Chamber Chair, Yvette Segura, participated in a stakeholder meeting, regarding the Westshore Interchange, with Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, Kevin Thibault.

The Governor announced the funding and acceleration of two of the Chamber’s key transportation priorities, the Westshore Interchange and the Downtown Interchange.

Workforce Housing

The Chamber established the Chamber Workforce Housing Caucus in 2020, and in 2021 it was established as a Subcommittee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to propose actionable workforce housing solutions that the Chamber can advocate.

The Workforce Housing Subcommittee met with Abbye Feeley and Kayon Henderson from the City of Tampa to discuss the Infill 360 Housing Redevelopment Program Phase II.

The City of Tampa’s Business and Brunch program kicked off with its first employer participant, and Chamber member, Ultimate Medical Academy. Over 630 employees are participating in this program in which the City of Tampa will be connecting them with subject matter experts and local businesses to educate, assist, and guide employees through the home buying process.

The Workforce Housing Subcommittee met with Brenda McKenzie, Workforce Partnerships & Special Projects Director, Neighborhoods & Community Affairs, City of Tampa to discuss their role in bringing together the community in support of workforce development.

Members of the committee met with Frank Wells, President and Chief Impact Officer of Bright Community Trust to discuss how they are addressing workforce housing needs in the central Florida region.

Over 30 community partners met for the first Workforce Housing Community Partner meeting. Developers, non-profits, and business community members heard from the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County on opportunities to invest in workforce housing. Ultimate Medical Academy shared their experience with the City’s Business & Brunch program.

Committee members heard from Chris Romer, President & CEO, Vail Valley Partnership about their workforce housing initiatives and best practices for the Chamber’s role with this outreach in their community.

Committee members heard from Bowen Arnold at DDA Development about their Sixty90 project which includes over 200 workforce housing units in St. Petersburg. A dedicated source of local funding remains the number one requested item by developers to ensure they’re able to offer workforce housing units.

The Committee Chair and Policy Liaison presented an update to the Chamber’s Policy Council on their progress and recent efforts by the Florida Realtors Association to protect the Sadowski Fund.

Committee members heard from Joey Henderson with Greater Tampa Realtors to discuss their initiative to get one million signatures by December 31, 2021, to include a constitutional amendment on the 2022 General Election ballot which protects money deposited in to the Sadowski Trust Fund from being used for non-housing purposes.

Over 20 community members met for the second Workforce Housing Community Partner meeting where they received updates and information regarding partnership opportunities from the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County government.

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