By: Sharon Aron Baron
In an announcement last week, the Florida League of Cities recognized Coral Springs Commissioner Joshua Simmons with a 2019 Home Rule Hero Award.
Simmons earned the prestigious award for his tireless efforts to protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda during the 2019 legislative session.
Sworn into office on November 27, 2018, Simmons made Coral Springs history as the first African-American Commissioner to be elected since the city became incorporated in 1963. Since he began serving, he has been a vocal proponent of Home Rule on the dais and at community events, vocalizing the need for cities to address local problems with local solutions, with minimal state interference.
He said it was an honor to receive the Home Rule hero award and to be in the company of many other hardworking municipal elected officials.
“This work is not about us; we fight for Home Rule because the residents of our respective cities, depend on us to fight for them and do the job they hired us to do,” he said.
Simmons was outspoken about the Legislature’s constant and steady stream of preemptions, making it harder for elected officials to govern locally.
“As a Commissioner in the City of Coral Springs, I am greatly perturbed by the fact that the State tends to interfere with the business of local governments wantonly, routinely, and with zero collaboration with local governments. The State has been heavy-handed, and these efforts to weaken home rule is an overreach and amounts to, in my view, unconstitutional actions.”
Simmons has been to Tallahassee to lobby for Coral Springs and was instrumental in overturning the city’s Medical Marijuana dispensary ban after he was elected, by getting a consensus from other commission members to discuss, and then later, vote.
Scott Dudley, legislative director of the Florida League of Cities, said the dedication and effort of local officials during the 2019 legislative session was extraordinary.
“These are some of our biggest advocates for municipal issues, and they’re shining examples of local advocacy in action. On behalf of the League and its legislative team, we’re proud to recognize each and every one of them and thank them for their service.”