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Gainesville Area Chamber Announces 2015 Public Leaders of the Year

Gainesville Area Chamber Announces 2015 Public Leaders of the Year

PLADuring Friday’s 2015 Public Leader Awards Ceremony keynoted by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce announced Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy, Alachua County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Charles “Chuck” Chestnut IV, State Representative Keith Perry and U.S. Congressman Ted S. Yoho as the recipients of its 2015 Public Leader of the Year Awards. The Chamber created the award to recognize public officials who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing policies that support the Chamber’s vision of the Gainesville Area as the global hub of talent, innovation and opportunity.

“The public leaders recognized today have demonstrated their commitment to maximizing our region’s business competitiveness and quality of life, both of which are fundamental to the Chamber’s vision of Gainesville as the global hub of talent, innovation and opportunity,” said Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Susan Davenport, in her first public remarks after being selected to permanently serve as the Chamber’s President/CEO. “The Chamber’s mission to facilitate economic prosperity, business growth and community progress is strengthened by the work of these outstanding individuals who strive to support opportunity for all people and businesses in this region.”

The Awardees

GNP_0626Mayor Ed Braddy has distinguished himself as a leader committed to aligning city policy, needs and quality of life with effective, efficient and innovative solutions. In April, culminating efforts stemming from a 2013 small business forum and 27 resulting recommendations, Mayor Braddy commissioned a Blue Ribbon Panel on Economic Competitiveness. The 22-member panel-which currently is working with award-winning design firm IDEO to reimagine and redesign city services with a focus on user experience-will present the Mayor with recommendations to make Gainesville the state’s most business-friendly city.

GNP_0643Chairman Chuck Chestnut, IV has championed the advancement of recommendations included in the county’s 2015 Business and Economic Growth Plan, which stemmed from a year of collaboration involving the Chamber, the Alachua County Economic Development Advisory Committee, Alachua County Staff and citizens. Chairman Chestnut recently led the County Commission in the approval and appointment of a one-year task force that will oversee the implementation of the plan’s 48 recommendations, which range in categories from economic diversification, to development approval process improvement, to others.

GNP_0656State Representative Keith Perry has been a strong supporter of state-level policies to strengthen Florida’s business climate and competitiveness. During the 2015 Legislative Session, Perry voted yes on a targeted tax reform package aiming to lower Florida’s business and living costs. Perry also strongly supported measures that help ensure Florida remains a national workforce leader through high-value training programs, while bolstering small business’ access to capital.

GNP_0673Congressman Ted S. Yoho has been a strong supporter of economic growth and jobs, supporting measures in 2014 and 2015 that would create tens of thousands of jobs nationally, and more than 150 jobs in Alachua County. Yoho also has supported measures to reduce costs for farmers, and increase resources for veterans. Prior to serving in congress, Yoho was a small business owner who operated several large animal veterinary practices for 30 years.


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