Greater Miami Chamber launches new political action committee

Early PAC priorities include education, environmental issues and housing.

There’s a new political action committee on the block in South Florida, and its inaugural board includes several well-known names in the Miami-Dade business community.

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce late last month announced the launch of Committee for a Greater Miami, a nonpartisan PAC “created to educate political leaders abut the needs of Miami-Dade businesses and to support leaders who help satisfy those needs.”

The PAC could be ready to spend ahead of the 2022 election cycle, which features a race for Governor, U.S. Senate and several other down ballot contests.

Early priorities for the group, a press note from the organization said, include education, environmental issues and housing, “to name a few.”

The PAC, which will operate as an entity separate from the chamber, is “in the stages of being finalized and will serve as a voluntary, nonprofit, incorporated organization designed to advocate on a local and state level for issues that reflect the legislative priorities of the GMCC Board of Directors.”

Tony Argiz, a board member and South Florida managing partner of accounting and advisory firm BDO USA, will serve as the PAC’s inaugural chairman.

Argiz is no stranger to politics. In April 2019, he spoke out against bills in Tallahassee proposing mass deportations of immigrants and refugees. A Cuban immigrant who came to the United States as part of the Peter Pan exodus, he called on Cuban legislators to “not forget (their) own immigrant experience.”

Manny Reyes of Pereira Reyes Consulting Inc., who has worked on behalf of Miami-Dade’s efforts to merge tollway agency MDX and the Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike, will be the PAC’s first vice chairman.

Other members include Greater Miami Chamber President and CEO Alfred Sanchez, CareerSource South Florida Executive Director and Greater Miami Chamber Chairman Rick Beasley, The Global Financial Group President and Greater Miami Chamber First Vice Chairman Roberto Muñoz, Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President and General Counsel Myles Pistorius, Uber Senior Manager of Public Affairs Javi Correoso and Freddy Balsera, founder and CEO of political public relations, policy communications and crisis management firm Balsera Communications.

Spencer Pylant, the chamber’s vice president of governmental affairs, will help to coordinate the PAC’s development.

The press note included a list of some “legislative wins” the chamber has had in the past several years.

Among them: securing COVID-19 liability protection for Miami businesses and recurring funding for resilient infrastructure and septic-to-sewer conversions in 2021; including business-promoting nonprofits in Paycheck Protection Program eligibility; the successful backing of a law prohibiting any state authority from suspending or revoking professional licenses based on a licensee’s student loan status in 2020; keeping Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2019; gaining City of Miami approval of Jungle Island park enhancements and hotel construction; Miami-Dade approval of the Kendall Parkway Extension to State Road 836; and securing “gold-standard” rapid bus along a key commuting route between Kendall and Homestead in 2018.

“As Miami-Dade continues to grow demographically and economically, the launch of Committee for a Greater Miami will give our businesses a leading edge statewide as we work with local officials that understand their vision for growth in a changing economy,” Sanchez said in a statement. “This PAC and its seasoned inaugural board will be the catalyst that propels local enterprise with a cohesive voice that effects positive change throughout our community.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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