BusinessForce announces endorsements in Central Florida elections

Dean Asher, Peter Vivaldi and Kelli Stargel

BusinessForce, the political action arm of Central Florida chambers of commerce, announced its endorsements in 13 state legislative races and eight local races Wednesday.

The group, associated with the Central Florida Partnership, a coalition of chambers of, picked Republicans in every race except two Osceola County commission contests.

“These endorsements send a strong signal to our region’s business community,” BusinessForce Chair Craig Swygert stated in a news release from the group. “We recognize the legislative, county commission, and school board candidates who are best equipped to support and serve our region in Tallahassee and our local communities after this election.”

BusinessForce picked Republican Dean Asher over Democrat Linda Stewart in Senate District 13; Republican Peter Vivaldi over Democratic state Rep. Victor Torres in SD 15; and Republican incumbent Sen. Kelli Stargel over Democrat Debra Wright in SD 22.

In races for the Florida House of Representatives, BusinessForce endorsed Republican incumbent state Rep. David Santiago over Democrat Robert Mann in House District 27; Republican incumbent state Rep. Jason Brodeur over independent Steve Edmunds in HD 28; Republican incumbent state Rep. Scott Plakon over Democrat Fred Marra in HD 29; Republican incumbent state Rep. Bob Cortes over Democrat Ryan Yadav in HD 30; Republican incumbent state Rep. Colleen Burton over Democrat Shandale Terrell in HD 40; Republican incumbent state Rep. Mike LaRosa over Democrat Benny Valentin in HD 42; Republican incumbent state Rep. Mike Miller over Democrat Beth Tuura in HD 47; Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia over Democrat Sean Ashby in HD 50; Republican state Rep. Tom Goodson over Democrat Mike Blake in HD 51; and Republican Randy Fine over Democrat David Anthony Kearns in HD 53.

BusinessForce made no endorsements in House Districts 46, 48, and 49, where there are no Republicans running.

In local races in Orange County, BusinessForce endorsed Bobby Olszewski and incumbent Ted Edwards in the Orange County Commission races for Districts 1 and 5; and Christine Moore in the Orange County School Board District 7 race. Those races are non-partisan, but all three are registered Republicans.

In Seminole County, BusinessForce endorsed Republicans Brenda Carey and Robert Dallari in Seminole County Commission races for Districts 1 and 5.

In Osceola County, the organization made its two Democratic endorsements, Peggy Choudhry and Brandon Arrington, in Osceola County Commission Districts 1 and 3. BusinessForce endorsed Republican Fred Hawkins in District 5.

“We are confident that each candidate will advance policies that support our free enterprise system, job creation and economic growth and opportunities for Central Florida’s small businesses and hardworking families,” Robert Agrusa, executive director of BusinessForce, stated in the release.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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