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For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Contact
Sarah Bascom, sarah@bascomllc.com, 850.294.6636
Kristen Bridges, kristen@bascomllc.com, 850.545.1917

AIF Announces its 2015 ‘Champions for Business’
Tallahassee, Fla. – Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today announced its 2015 ‘Champions for Business’
award recipients. AIF gives these awards annually to recognize lawmakers who provide leadership on key
legislation for the business community through non-voting actions.
“Each year, AIF looks forward to honoring those elected officials who defend Florida’s competitive climate and
go above and beyond to make the Sunshine State a place where businesses and families can prosper,” said AIF
President & CEO Tom Feeney. “AIF is grateful to this year’s ‘Champions for Business’ for both their hands-on and
behind-the-scenes efforts to support business-friendly legislation. Each recipient has demonstrated a deep
commitment to making a difference in the State of Florida by being strong and forceful advocates for the
business community and working to allow Florida companies to have the ability to operate free of overly
burdensome state regulation and taxation.”
The 2015 recipients include:
Governor Rick Scott is receiving his third AIF Champion for Business Award and is only the second Governor to
receive the award in its 13-year history. AIF salutes Governor Scott for his steadfast leadership and staunch probusiness agenda, which has bolstered economic growth in the State of Florida. This legislative session, Governor
Scott signed House Bill 33A, a broad-based tax package, into law. HB 33A will bring relief for many Floridians,
from Florida’s farmers, to Florida’s students, and to any Floridian who owns a cell phone. Governor Scott’s
legislative priority of reducing taxes on Florida’s families by more than $400 million will promote and solidify our
state’s standing as one of the best to live and conduct business in.
Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award. President
Gardiner’s leadership contributed to fostering a better business climate in Florida, as well as his work to pass
meaningful health care reform legislation. Because of President Gardiner’s courage to face the debate, the
Florida Senate developed market-based solutions for employers’ health care costs that passed through the
Florida Senate with bipartisan support.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) is receiving his fifth AIF Champion for Business Award. Speaker
Crisafulli showed critical leadership in fostering a better business climate in Florida, as well as for his effort in
advocating for comprehensive water policy in the State of Florida. The Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) projects there will be a water shortage of more than 1 billion gallons of water per day by 2030, which
makes efforts like Speaker Crisafulli’s critical to Florida’s future. With Speaker Crisafulli’s efforts, a science-based
approach to addressing current and future statewide water needs passed the Florida House.
Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator Bean
crafted the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange Act and led its bipartisan passage through the
Florida Senate. This important legislation would provide a private-sector, free-market solution to address
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Florida’s health care marketplace by insuring more Floridians and alleviating the costs of uncompensated care,
which burden businesses and families throughout the state.
Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) is a receiving her second AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator
Hukill is recognized for helping to reduce taxes on Florida’s families and businesses by more than $400 million.
HB 33A, a broad-based tax package designed to bring relief to Florida’s families and businesses, will promote
and solidify our state’s standing as one of the best states to live and conduct business in. Senator Hukill worked
very closely with the bill sponsor, Representative Matt Gaetz, during this year’s special session to pass a tax
package that would not only fit within the state’s budget, but also give back to Florida’s families and businesses.
Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples) is receiving his fifth AIF Champion for Business Award. Senator Richter was
instrumental in supporting the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation aimed at growing Florida’s
onshore oil and gas industry, while providing safeguards for the environment. This legislation sought to revise
the Oil and Gas Program under the DEP’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the Division of Water
Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling, production and
exploration activities within Florida. AIF supported the need to maintain appropriate permitting laws to protect
the environment, to enhance efficiency between the industry and the state, and to ensure clear communication
of appropriate standards.
Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) is receiving his second AIF Champion for Business Award.
Representative Caldwell successfully sponsored HB 7003, which aims to create an interagency agreement to
develop and implement a uniform water management system regarding water supply planning, consumptive
water use permitting and any resource protection programs. Representative Caldwell’s legislation puts forth
broad-based, comprehensive water policy for the State of Florida that takes into account current and future
water needs.
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) is receiving his second AIF Champion for Business Award.
Representative Gaetz exhibited significant leadership in reducing taxes on Florida’s families. His sponsorship and
steadfast work on this legislation will promote and solidify our state’s standing as one of the best states to live
and conduct business in. Representative Gaetz’s successful work on HB 33A will provide Florida families with
more than $400 million in tax reductions.
Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business Award.
Representative Rodrigues successfully championed the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation aimed at
growing Florida’s onshore oil and gas industry while providing safeguards for the environment. This legislation
sought to revise the Oil and Gas Program under the DEP’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the
Division of Water Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling,
production and exploration activities within Florida.
The awards were given at the Champions for Business Awards Reception at AIF’s 2015 Annual Conference in
Orlando, Fla. Since 2003, AIF has given a total of 149 ‘Champions for Business’ awards to 88 different elected
officials.
Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, AIF has represented the principles of prosperity
and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920. A voluntary association of
diversified businesses, AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth,
development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.
For more information on AIF, please visit AIF.com and follow @VoiceofFLBiz.
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