Associated Industries of Florida revives pre-Session party with smaller, intimate homecoming

aif party
The last time AIF held its reception, the business organization was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Associated Industries of Florida’s Legislative Reception is making a triumphant return Monday evening. However, with new leadership and the pandemic still looming over Tallahassee, the business advocates are scaling back the party.

“I’m not going to be going out there and juggling flaming batons or anything like that, but I think it’ll be a good gathering of friends and business associates,” said AIF’s new president and CEO, Brewster Bevis. “Other than that, I don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.”

Bevis, who has been with AIF for more than a decade, took over as president in August and added CEO to his resume this year, completing the departure of longtime AIF head Tom Feeney. It’s giving him a chance to reset and reevaluate a lot of work the organization does.

For years, AIF’s reception has been a pre-Session tradition held on the eve of the 60-day sprint through Legislative Session, and that’s not changing. However, invites this time will be limited to AIF members, the group’s sponsors, and lawmakers.

“We’re not doing, like we have in the past, 2,000 of your closest friends here eating and drinking and having fun,” Bevis said. “It’s going to be a much more intimate gathering of friends and legislators, but we are going to do it. It’s just going to be smaller.”

The pandemic is still a consideration in early 2022. However, Bevis told Florida Politics the change was likely coming regardless, even if the pandemic helped make the decision a little easier.

He hopes the change will create a better experience for the core attendees. Now they will be able to skip the lines of thousands milling around, waiting for food and drinks.

“Talking to a bunch of our members, I think they are going to enjoy much more so being able to have much more interactions with the legislators in this type of a setting than they would in years past where you have 2,500 people out there, of which about 2,300 you have no idea who they actually are,” Bevis said.

Known as the “Voice of Florida Business,” AIF is a powerful presence in the Capitol. Each year the association chases down a number of priorities that typically seek to better business in the Sunshine State.

The last time AIF held its reception, the business organization was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Addressing data privacy will likely be AIF’s top goal for the 2022 Session. Bevis hopes Florida creates a new model for other states, particularly those led by Republicans — an alternative model to what has been done in California and Virginia.

And whittling away at it with tort reform remains a long term goal. Reducing lawsuits could help reduce insurance premiums and lead to consumer savings.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


One comment

  • Alex

    January 9, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    The default should be my data is 100% private.

    Period.

    If I wish to allow someone to know something about me, I can turn it on, and if I want them to share I can flip that switch, and choose who they can share it with. It should automatically switch off after a preset time.

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