By: Sharon Aron Baron
Members of the League of Cities around the State of Florida recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for the 2015 Federal Action Strike Team (FAST) Fly-in.
While it was a very busy time in Washington with Congress starting the 114th Congress, FAST members, including Commissioner Dan Daley, met with Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and 16 members of Florida’s 27-member congressional delegation (and/or their staff) during their time in our nation’s capital.
The group also met with members of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, including Jerry Abramson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, and his staff. During the meeting, attendees heard updates from the Deputy Policy Director for Immigration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
I fully believe this trip to Washington D.C. will go a long way in rectifying the issues the City of Coral Springs has been having with FEMA and potentially save the city in excess of $3 million dollars. Prior to FAST fly-ins the FEMA issue, which impacts the state of FL to the tune of $160 million wasn’t on the radar of Congress and now it’s front and center!” – Commissioner Dan Daley
National League of Cities (NLC) Federal Relations Director Carolyn Coleman and several NLC lobbyists provided a federal briefing to attendees before heading off to the Capitol. This year’s advocacy efforts focused on support for a long-term federal transportation program; protecting the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds; expressing concerns with the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed rule; and making improvements to the FEMA de-obligations process and other issues that impact Florida’s cities.
“Having face-to-face meetings with our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., has provided an opportunity for city officials to strengthen their relationships with members of Congress,” said Scott Dudley, legislative director for the Florida League of Cities. “It gives our membership a chance to provide real-world examples of how the decisions made in Washington affect their cities back home and ensures that members of Congress know their city officials are paying attention to what is going on in our nation’s Capital.”
The FAST committee was created in support of the League’s strategic plan objective to strengthen its federal relations. The primary purpose of this committee is to establish proactive and reactive communications with the Florida congressional delegation in support of federal municipal policy. The committee takes its policy positions and direction from the League’s resolutions and the National League of Cities (NLC) policy priorities, as well as from the officers and board of the League.
FAST members meet throughout the year, at the two FLC conferences in Florida and two delegation visits to Washington, D.C., each year.