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The Osceola Chamber Hosts Legislative Delegation at 2024 Osceola Update

On Tuesday, June 18, The Osceola Chamber welcomed Osceola County’s Florida state legislators for an update on the spring 2024 legislative session and their outlook for next fall in a panel discussion moderated by Walt Disney World Senior Government Advisory Manager Leticia Adams.  The program also featured words from Congressman Darren Soto on federal successes for the county, and a report on the work of the Florida Department of Transportation’s 5th District from FDOT Director of Development Jack Adkins.

For the second year in a row, we were thrilled to welcome our Chamber members and community partners to the fabulous Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center for this annual event.  As always, the program included lunch, and this year’s pan-seared beef filet with aged cheddar gratin potatoes and a carrot puree was excellent as always.

The program kicked off with a welcome from Chamber President/CEO John Newstreet and the National Anthem sung by Ulysses Escobar, who is an active member of the Chamber with his business Elev8 Mortgage.  2024 Chamber Chairman, and Osceola Magic Vice President, Carlos Velez took the stage next to recognize elected officials and thank our awesome sponsors for making the event possible.  He compared the support of sponsors at community events to the teamwork required on the basketball court.

The Presenting Sponsor for the Osceola Update was Disney, as has been the case for many years, and Walt Disney World Senior Government Advisory Manager Elizabeth Watkins took the stage to thank our elected leaders for their dedication and share some of the latest updates at the Disney parks, including the soon-to-open Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.  She then introduced U.S. Congressman Darren Soto, whose jurisdiction includes all of Osceola County.  He reported on his successes in Washington including advancements for NeoCity.

After a short break to begin lunch service, Florida Department of Transportation, District 5 Director of Development Jack Adkins gave a detailed presentation on ongoing transportation projects that touch Osceola County, and the outlook for desired projects in the future.  He noted the County’s record growth and its impact on our transportation needs.

Rebekah Hurd, Manager, Government Advocacy Central Florida Division with AdventHealth, who also volunteers her time as the Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Advisory Committee, explained the role of that Committee in recommending actions to the Chamber board of directors, as well as the importance of civic engagement.  She applauded the work of the Chamber’s seven Coalitions in building the Chamber’s connections within Osceola’s diverse population and announced plans to bring the National Civics Bee to Central Florida in the spring.

The marquee moment of the Osceola Update, however, is always the moderated panel discussion between members of the Osceola Legislative Delegation.  Our representatives include Senator Victor Torres (District 25), Representative Kristen Arrington (District 46), Representative Paula Stark (District 47), and Representative Tom Keen (District 35), who were present on this year’s panel, which was moderated by Disney’s Adams.  Representative Carolina Amesty (District 45), the fourth state house representative whose district includes part of Osceola County, had to drop out of the panel at the last minute due to a conflict.  The representatives detailed their accomplishments in the last session.  They all stressed that the best way for the business community to engage with them heading into next session is to come see them now with requests or ideas.  Representative Stark noted that “early engagement is great,” and Representative Arrington added that the reps “all have open door policies.”  Senator Torres, who has termed out, thanked the crowd for the opportunity to serve.

The Osceola Chamber’s 2024 Osceola Update was sponsored by Walt Disney World Resort, Gaylord Palms, AdventHealth, Universal Orlando Resort, HCA Florida Healthcare, Orlando Health, Duke Energy, Encore, ABC Paving & Sealcoating, BankFlorida, Old Town, Overstreet Law, Tavistock, Gatorland, Toho Water Authority, the School District of Osceola County, and Skywater/IMEC.

 

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