Bonita Springs News


Date ArticleType
7/1/2014 General

Florida Chamber Names Four Distinguished Advocates in Ft. Myers/Naples Region

Today, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced House Speaker Will Weatherford as their 2014 Most Valuable Legislator and honored the following four Ft. Myers/Naples region legislators with 2014 Distinguished Advocates awards:  

  • Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Ft. Myers)- Championed numerous pro-business issues as Senate Majority Leader.
  • Rep. Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres)- Led the fight for local pension reform in the House and led the passage of the Department of Agriculture’s priority bill.
  • Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples)- Led the fight on healthcare legislation and championed funding for Cancer Centers of Excellence.
  • Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples)- Championed lawsuit abuse reform by sponsoring fair settlement legislation for the third year.

The Florida Chamber presents these special awards to legislators who fought for pro-jobs initiatives during the 2014 session that help make Florida’s businesses more competitive and create more economic opportunities for Florida’s families. The Florida Chamber also released its annual publication How They Voted – which provides the grades for all 160 legislators so business leaders can see who voted for or against job creation and economic growth. 

The business community’s premier legislative award, Most Valuable Legislator, goes to House Speaker Will Weatherford for his courage to champion difficult, but necessary issues like lawsuit abuse reform, pension reform and educational opportunities for every student, and the character to consistently place the long-term advancement of Florida before short-term politics. Speaker Weatherford’s maturity and leadership skills were displayed by his ability to provide bi-partisan and bicameral solutions to Florida’s biggest issues.

During the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers passed 17 Florida Chamber-backed pro-business, pro-jobs bills and defeated dozens of anti-business bills. All 160 legislators earned grades on the Florida Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Report Card based on their actual pro-jobs, pro-business votes cast during the 2014 session. Grades for all 160 members of the Florida Legislature can be viewed by visiting or clicking here.