Keys officials learn, lobby in the capitol

Daniel Samess – CEO, Marathon Chamber of Commerce

“Getting in front of the department heads and legislators that help make decision on budgetary items that affect our quality of life, ability to do business and live in the Keys is very important. We talked to Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

Adam Putnam about wastewater and water quality and also meet with officials about wind and flood insurance.”

Mark Senmartin – Marathon councilman

“The most important thing to come out of the meeting was information about how Amendment 1 funds (taxes on document stamps amounting to almost $500 million a year). The debate among legislators in Tallahassee is ongoing whether the funds will be spent on new projects or maintaining water quality. I am of the opinion, however, that the Keys will receive some of the funds.”

Clayton Lopez – Key West City Commissioner

“I felt the trip to Tally was really effective. I met with State Representative Holly Merrill Raschein about getting funding for the American Legion building on Emma Street and was able to speak with several people and create relationships. My wife accompanied and she has an interest in early childhood education. I met with Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart and addressed that topic. The end was fun, too. We shared chocolate covered key lime pie and conch ceviche.”

Tony ‘Fat’ Yaniz – Key West City Commissioner

“The main thing I got out of the trip was the amount of representatives from Key West and Monroe County that turned out. We made our presence known. A highlight was when I asked Attorney General of Florida Pam Bondi if Florida is going to continue wasting resources fighting gay marriage and she said ‘No, Florida is waiting for a final decision from the Supreme Court.’ I also asked Senator Dwight Bullard if he’d be willing to go on the record pledging his continued support for Affordable Workforce Housing funds and he replied that he would and updated us on the status of pending legislation.”

Mike Forster – Islamorada Village Mayor

“While we met with many department heads, probably the most important issue addressed was traffic. Islamorada is undergoing DOT roadwork, plus improvements to the Heritage Trail, and sewer connections. And while the Snake Creek Bridge only opens on the hour now, as a trial project, I really believe we need a fixed bridge. I spoke to officials about putting that objective in the 10- to 15-year plan.”

Seat 1: Deb Gillis – Islamorada Village Vice Mayor

“My main goal was to talk about securing additional wastewater funding for Islamorada. While the bills still need to be passed to make that possible, we had positive results speaking one-on-one with officials in Tallahassee. We had 18 meetings while in Tallahassee, and five meeting to discuss issues pertaining solely to Islamorada.”



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