2016 Distinguished Advocates

The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate award recognizes lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation – no matter how difficult – and furthered the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development. The 14 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2016 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate award include:


Florida Senate

Senator Aaron Bean

(R) Jacksonville

Senator Aaron Bean cast the lone vote in committee against special interest groups’ efforts to worsen Florida’s already bottom-10 legal climate.



Senator Dorothy Hukill

(R) Port Orange

Senator Dorothy Hukill championed targeted tax cuts, including Florida Chamber priorities of reducing the Business Rent tax and permanently eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, and worked to crack down on fraud in Florida’s property insurance system.


Senator Garrett Richer

(R) Naples

Senator Garret Richter remained an ardent champion for fixing Florida’s broken legal climate by advocating for accuracy in damages and fair settlement legislation.


Senator Wilton Simpson

(R) Trilby

Senator Wilton Simpson supported freight mobility and intermodal systems modernization as well as efforts to promote fuel diversification for the more efficient movement of goods to market.


Senator Kelli Stargel

(R) Lakeland

Senator Kelli Stargel continued to lead the fight for improvements to Florida’s world class educational systems and worked to reduce unemployment compensation fraud.

Florida House of Representatives

Representative Jim Boyd

(R) Bradenton

Representative Jim Boyd fought for economic development efforts that would help create jobs and diversify Florida’s economy.


Representative Matt Caldwell

(R) Lehigh Acres

Representative Matt Caldwell successfully passed the most comprehensive water policy reforms in a generation, helping secure the future of Florida’s water through science-based policies, while also sponsored priority legislation for needed pension and legal reform.


Representative Manny Diaz, Jr.

(R) Hialeah

Representative Manny Diaz continued to stand for Florida’s students by advocating for a more flexible and accountable school choice environment.


Representative Jay Fant

(R) Jacksonville

Representative Jay Fant sought to lower the cost of living for families and businesses by supporting Small Business Saturday initiatives as well as by championing accuracy in damages legal reform.


Representative Erik Fresen

(R) Miami

Representative Erik Fresen tirelessly advocated for numerous Florida Chamber education priorities, such as expanding school choice options and empowering students with unique abilities.


Representative Matt Gaetz

(R) Shalimar

Representative Matt Gaetz developed the Florida House’s $1 billion targeted tax cut package, which included Florida Chamber priorities like reducing the Business Rent tax, permanently eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment and increasing the cap on Florida’s R&D tax credit.


Representative Ed Narain

(D) Tampa

Representative Ed Narain highlighted the need for STEM-educated teachers to help prepare the next generation workforce for our global economy and worked to welcome innovators by expanding Florida’s R&D tax credit.


Representative Kathleen Passidomo

(R) Naples

Representative Kathleen Passidomo stalled billboard trial lawyers’ number one priority bill, which sought to further increase the costs suffered by job creators subjected to frivolous sue-and-settle lawsuits.


Representative Lake Ray

(R) Jacksonville

Representative Lake Ray advocated to further modernize Florida’s world class infrastructure through long term investments in clean energy and freight mobility projects.