Securing Florida’s Water Future, Together

July 8, 2016

WATCH: President and CEO Mark Wilson meets with local business leaders to talk algae solutions.


One hundred years ago, the biggest threat facing Florida’s economy was a parasite – the cattle tick. Times were dire – the entire state was under federal quarantine and the very safety and security of Florida’s economic core were in danger of collapse.

Much has changed in the last century. With 20 million-plus residents, Florida is now the third most populous state in the country, and our economy is thriving. In fact, if Florida was a country, we’d be the 16th largest economy in the world.

Much of Florida’s economic success is attributed to our state’s unique quality of life. From the Panhandle’s white sandy beaches to the distinctive natural resources of the Keys, ensuring Florida remains the best place to live, work, learn and play has been a top priority for the Florida Chamber for the last 100 years. We’ve long championed long-term, sustainable water policy—science-based water policy – to protect Florida’s natural and economic resources for the future.

In fact, it’s why – for more than 30 years – the Florida Chamber Foundation has hosted a continuing education summer school to focus specifically on Florida’s fragile environment. We believe, providing resources like the Florida Chamber’s Environmental Permitting Summer School highlights science-based research and best management practices to help ensure communities across Florida grow smarter.  Environmental experts from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nature Conservancy, local and state environmental leaders and more make a point of attending annually.

Recently, I walked along the edges of the Indian River Lagoon and witnessed first-hand the blue green algae that is impacting families and job creators in Florida’s Treasure Coast. Shortly after that tour, I sat down with business leaders from the Stuart are in Martin County to learn more about the algae and its impact on their businesses. It’s a message I also shared with CNBC and WPBF 25.

While there was indeed an algae problem, the tourists the national media claimed were all gone where walking on the beaches and filling up the hotels, and enjoying the natural surroundings. And, while business leaders in the community shared their frustration of some lost business, they also shared their sense of urgency to spread the word the region is open for business.

At the Florida Chamber, we share in the frustration blue green algae has created, and we continue our long-standing commitment to seek real solutions to help provide relief.

In fact, as part of our ongoing efforts to help secure Florida’s water future, the Florida Chamber has been working with one of the world’s foremost experts on water science. Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has presented at the Florida Chamber’s Annual Meeting, appeared on our television program Bottom Line, and is helping us educate businesses and employees on the real causes – and solutions – to Florida’s water challenges.

With six million more residents expected to call Florida home by 2030, and our state’s water demand expected to increase by 20 percent by 2030, strong, science-based water quality standards will continue to play a vital role in Florida’s economy and quality of life.

While we should look at several possible solutions, one of the most promising and effective is septic tank conversions. Dr. Lapointe has extensive experience in water quality research in South Florida and the Caribbean region. His latest scientific research shows that septic tank sewage nitrogen is one of the threats to Florida’s waterways, including the Indian River Lagoon.

Over the years, Dr. Lapointe’s research has led to greater nutrient removal from sewage effluents in Monroe County, his long-term water quality monitoring at Looe Key reef in the Florida Keys represents the longest low-level nutrient record for a coral reef anywhere in the world.

While it may have been the cattle tick that brought Florida’s business community together 100 years ago and created the Florida Chamber of Commerce to protect the economic wellbeing of our state, protecting Florida’s water bodies and unique quality of life are vital to Florida’s future economy.

We’re proud to stand up for Florida families and job creators to do everything we can to ensure our economy is not only vibrant, but that it’s sustainable.


Florida Chamber Names Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg P.A. Executive Regional Board Chair

CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261


Lee Sandler Appointed for 2014-2015
Term in Miami-Dade/Monroe County

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (June 5 , 2015) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced Lee Sandler, Founding Member of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. and Chair of the Florida Chamber’s International Business Council, has been appointed to a one-year term as the Florida Chamber’s Miami Dade/Monroe County Regional Board Chair.

“As Chair of the Florida Chamber’s International Business Council, I know firsthand the importance of the Florida Chamber’s free enterprise and pro-business efforts,” said Lee Sandler, Founding Member of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. “As the Regional Chair of Miami Dade/Monroe County, I’m proud to have an opportunity to help unite business leaders so that we can continue to keep Florida moving in the right direction. I encourage all of my fellow business leaders to join us in the arena to secure Florida’s future.”

Sandler was appointed by Steve Knopik, President and CEO of Bealls, Inc. and Chair of the Florida Chamber Board of Directors, and will work directly to rally Miami Dade/Monroe County-area business leaders with Florida legislative leaders to create the most competitive business environment for businesses to thrive.

“Lee Sandler has been vital to the success of the Florida Chamber’s international efforts and is a highly experienced business leader, who fully understands the important role Miami Dade/Monroe County play in Florida’s economy,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “In his role as a Florida Chamber Regional Chair, Lee will volunteer his time and talent in support of the Florida Chamber’s efforts to advocate for solutions that help make Florida more competitive.”

Sandler is one of 12 regional chairs that are a part of the Florida Chamber’s Regional Chair Program.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.

Guns At Work: Frequently Asked Questions

April 25, 2007

Is the Florida Chamber Anti-Gun, Anti-Second Amendment? The Florida Chamber is strongly pro-gun and pro-Second Amendment.

The Florida Chamber currently allows guns on its property and has hunters and gun owners throughout its management, board and members.

Why Did The Florida Chamber fight against 2nd Amendment Rights?

We didn’t. HB 1417/SB 2356 entitled the Individual Personal Property Act prohibited employers from having policies that limit any “legal products” on their property. Marion Hammer, NRA, stated in committee “This is not about the 2nd Amendment.” She along with Rich Templin, AFL-CIO, testifi ed that the bill was about “privacy rights.”

If NRA supported this bill, isn’t it an important gun issue?

The NRA teamed with the AFL-CIO and the Trial Lawyers to support what they called a “privacy rights” bill and actively attacked businesses and property owners for trying to retain their current right to decide who and what come on their property. In the original bill, explosives and pornography would have been allowed in plain view at day care centers and churches.

Why did the NRA sell out to unions and trial lawyers to push a bill that allowed union promotional materials and pornography on someone else’s private property?

We have no idea, but we’re glad the legislature voted 10-4 to stop this big government intrusion into private property rights.

Didn’t big businesses bully legislators into voting against this bill?

The Florida Chamber membership is 80 percent small businesses. And 95 percent of our membership felt that the current law allowing property owners to decide to allow guns was the way it should be.
Even gun owners throughout Florida think that property owners “should be able to decide what things are brought onto their property.” If you don’t like the rules a homeowner sets on his/her property then don’t go there.