|Members of the Escambia County Legislative Delegation (Sen. Doug Broxson, Rep. Frank White, and Rep. Clay Ingram) hear from the public on December 11, 2017 at PSC|
The Greater Pensacola Area's legislative delegation held a public meeting last night at PSC to hear from citizens and public officials about individual priorities for the upcoming legislative session that will begin in January.
County Administrator Jack Brown presented four issues of great importance to the group on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners: The Beulah Interchange (desperately needed to help traffic flow in Beulah and to help accommodate the exponential growth of Navy Federal Credit Union in Beulah--now sitting at 6,200 employees), making Pine Forest Road from I-10 to 9-Mile Road a 4-lane road (currently the road is three lanes, with only one lane going north), a legislative ask that once a new "entity" is established to house ECAT employees ( a transportation authority)--these employees be given the flexibility to opt-out of becoming a member of the Florida Retirement System, and finally Jack asked for help with improving the bridge at Old-Corry Field Road and Navy Blvd--it had been damaged in the 2014 flood.
Other entities and persons made pitches to the three person legislative delegation (Sen. Doug Broxson, Rep. Frank White, Rep. Clay Ingram)
The City of Pensacola wants more funding for affordable housing, and also funding for an expanded MRO facility at the Pensacola International Airport to create as many as 2000 jobs.
UWF wants infrastructure money to replace a $3.2 Million dollar switch-gear that is nearing 50 years in age..
PSC requested $19 Million to construct a replacement for a 62 year-old structure.
A very animated representative for the Machinists Union chastised the delegation for not supporting legislation last session that was beneficial to his union..."Our members vote, and they have been supporting you guys!" he mused.
Sen. Broxson did a good job of tempering expectations for this session..."We had a hurricane this year that did a lot of damage to the southern part of the state so we need to be and we will be sensitive to those needs."
A woman purportedly representing the League of Women Voters unleashed a boat-load of requests in rapid-fire succession on a litany of topics. She was moving so quickly that she had to be paused. "Okay, can you please slow down, I can't keep up" Rep. Ingram said in jest. The initiatives she requested support for were primarily left-leaning and some were outright ridiculous in my opinion (making solar panels mandatory for new construction, eliminating school choice options, automatic reinstatement of voting rights for all felons upon completion of their sentences, establishment of free medical clinics, opposition to open carry, etc.) Some of the requests were interesting though, and some I would support (removing guns from folks that have a history of violence, mental instability, or under restraining orders, universal background checks for gun purchases)
Overall, it was a good event and it was interesting to hear about what a broad swath of folks in the community want from their delegation. These gentlemen have a tough job and I certainly appreciate their service to our area!