Sarasota Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Heather Kasten

The Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and staff recently met with state legislators in Tallahassee and federal legislators in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the local business community. The chamber’s 2020 legislative priorities focus on the pressing topics and issues that its 1,200-plus member businesses face, including transportation, water quality, education, and economic development. Its legislative agenda also reflects the priorities of the collective regional business community, created after the chamber convened with multiple regional organizations. The legislative agenda was first presented in September at the Sarasota delegation meeting, then again in one-on-one meetings with legislators in Tallahassee, including Rep. James Buchanan, Rep. Tommy Gregory and Rep. Will Robinson.

On a national level, Mireya C. Eavey, the executive vice-president of the Chamber’s workforce development initiative, CareerEdge, and Jennifer Behrens, president of locally owned manufacturer Atlantic Mold, joined more than 75 business leaders from 25 states in Washington, D.C., to urge members of Congress to invest in skills training to expand economic opportunities for working families, help meet the workforce needs of local business and industries, and make the United States more competitive in the 21st-century global economy.  The policy solutions advocated for include support of apprenticeship and work-based learning, reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and making Pell grants available for high-quality, short-term training programs. The Chamber will continue to advocate for the local business community and workforce moving into the next Florida state legislative session, which begins in mid-January.

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