10 Feb 2020 Marine Legislative Days
Any time we get to represent Jacksonville Marine Association at the state level is a win! So, when the Marine Industries Association of Florida scheduled Marine Legislative Days on January 27 – 28, I didn’t want to miss the boat (pun intended) and jumped aboard to attend this two-day event.
My time there was packed with back to back appointments with key legislators of all levels. On day one, we were set up in a private room inside the prestigious Governor’s Club and heard from speakers such as Major Rob Rowe with FWC Boating and Waterways Section, Kellie Ralston from American Sport Fishing Association and Honorable Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s Chief Financial Office. Topics included, waterway access, recreational anglers rights and industry economic impact, just to name a few. The day ended with a cocktail reception and dinner hosted by Missy Timmins of Timmins Consulting, LLC. This was a wonderful opportunity to mingle with industry leaders and advocates from all over Florida.
Day two was particularly inspiring as I had the pleasure of walking the halls of the Capital with industry peers and MIAF’s lobbying team to meet with legislators and discuss marine issues we are facing in 2020. We had set appointments with 11 senators and representatives in all. The common talking points seemed to be derelict boats, anchoring limitations, the Florida Boating Improvement Plan and waterway access, among many others. I felt a great sense of humbleness and pride as I met each legislator and listened to my colleagues speak with such passion about an industry we all love equally.
As I drove home to NE Florida that afternoon, I reflected on all the conversations I was a part of during those two, completely filled days and I couldn’t help to have a glimmer of hope that this community we are all a part of has a common goal; to make boating in Florida safe, exciting and memorable for everyone.