Citrus County ‘citizen lobbyists’ head to capital for Legislative Days

'Citrus County is known for one of the most successful Legislative Days in the state'

Be prepared, Tallahassee. Citrus County is on its way.

More than 100 Citrus politicians, business leaders, candidates and community advocates will converge on the capital Wednesday and Thursday for the annual Legislative Days.

What began decades ago as a means for the locals to interact with legislators on their turf has morphed into dates on the calendar that many in Citrus have circled.

“Legislative Days in Tallahassee has proven to be a great opportunity to meet face-to-face not only with our delegation, but many critically important department heads,” said Commissioner Jeff Kinnard, who has attended each Session since his freshman year in office eight years ago.

The Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, combined with Leadership Citrus, organizes Legislative Days each year.

The schedule is jammed Wednesday with meetings with agency directors from a wide variety of areas — education, transportation, housing, environmental protection, tourism and insurance. Many Citrus Countians are scheduled for a sit-down with Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, who represented Citrus as a Senator.

On Thursday, legislators and agency directors will come to where the Citrus County group is gathering at the TCC Center for Innovation.

Josh Wooten, Chamber President and CEO, said the annual event pays dividends.

“Citrus County is known for one of the most successful Legislative Days in the state,” he said. “We come up during Session every year with an energetic bunch of citizen lobbyists. Our legislative delegation takes great pride in seeing the interest of their constituents in the legislative process.”

Citrus participants have used the time to advance numerous local projects: Suncoast Parkway, U.S. 41 widening, and river restorations in Crystal River and Homosassa, to name a few.

For many Leadership Citrus participants, Legislative Days is their first time in the Capitol, meeting with Citrus legislators, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia and Rep. Ralph Massullo, and observing the legislative process.

Kinnard said Legislative Days allows Citrus County to speak with a unified voice.

“There’s great discussion about issues and capital projects important to Citrus County,” he said. “When local elected officials, the Chamber of Commerce, businessmen and women, and community advocates are all delivering the same message, progress is made for the benefit of our community.”

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


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