Florida retailers are making their choices in open 2020 state races, releasing a list of eight candidates, including a single Democrat who makes the cut.
On Wednesday, the Florida Retail Federation weighed in with endorsements for upcoming Senate and House races, giving the nod to pro-business candidates including Republicans Jim Boyd in Senate District 21; Jennifer Bradley in SD 5; Jason Brodeur in SD 9, Danny Burgess in SD 20; Ana Maria Rodriguez in SD 39; Ray Rodriguez in SD 27 and Sam Garrison in House District 18.
Rep. Tina Polsky, the only Democrat on the list, is running for SD 29.
Boyd, Brodeur, Burgess, Rodriguez and Rodrigues are either former or current Florida House members looking to move to the Senate. Burgess most recently served as head of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Orange Park General Counsel Garrison and Bradley (who is looking to replace her husband, Sen. Rob Bradley) are first-time candidates.
“We are proud to support these business-friendly candidates who are committed to strengthening our economy by enabling Florida businesses to create jobs,” said FRF President and CEO Scott Shalley.
“Florida’s retail industry provides one in five jobs in the Sunshine State. And if we’re going to get Floridians back to work, we need to keep Florida retail stores open and thriving.”
In 2020, the FRF and other retail industry advocates face greater challenges than ever, especially after state and local governments divided retailers into “essential” and “nonessential” when safer-at-home orders were issued in March and April.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many retailers to quickly adapt to a “new normal” to stay afloat. As communities and businesses begin reopening — or planning to reopen soon — many will face a new patchwork of regulations.
Shalley said: “We must create a level playing field where Florida retail stores can compete — and win. With these candidates in the Florida Legislature, I know Florida retail will get a fair shake.”
Florida is among the last states to bring tax laws in line with a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on online sales tax collection, the FRF says. One of the group’s key priorities is to update the state’s tax code and create a fair environment for Florida businesses to compete.
According to the FRF — which represents 270,000 retail stores in an industry that generates $155 billion in economic activity and $49 billion in wages — other critical issues in the next Legislative Session are high-quality jobs, a strong return of tourism, free-market environments, a business environment to favor domestic companies, lower taxes, safer communities, and less crime.