I want to take a moment to talk to you about a recent Sun Sentinel article regarding the Tamarac City Commission’s travel. I can only speak for myself but I am sure that if asked, the others will be more than willing to share their thoughts on this topic. When writing about the Commission’s travel the focus seemed to be strictly on the educational components. While that is a very important part of a number of the trips I have taken, another very big component is advocacy on behalf of the City and its residents. I have written briefly about my travels in several of my past newsletters.
As a member of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) policy committee for Utilities, Natural Resources & Public Works, I am asked to attend three policy meetings throughout the year. I believe it is important to my residents to have representation on this committee because we live in South Florida where we are being increasingly affected by climate change. Where the rise in sea level, stronger natural disasters, and living next door to the fragile ecosystem of the Everglades require us to be involved in legislative policies that govern how we deal with natural resources.
Tamarac is a good steward of our natural resources with initiatives such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 7% at City facilities and being one of the first cities in Broward to encourage our residents to participate in the PACE program. We need to ensure that our state elected officials have a clear message on how important the environment is to us.
I serve as a member of the same committee but with a different name (Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Policy Committee) for the National League of Cities (NLC). As hard as it is at the state level to keep focused on environmental issues important to us in South Florida, it is even more so at the national level. Out of the forty-four members of the committee, only five are from Florida.
For this year, I have already traveled to or have plans to travel to nine different places. Let’s take a look at each of those trips.
NLC Congressional City Conference, Washington, DC: March 10th - 17th
(Click here for my report in April’s newsletter). At this conference, which was my first as an elected official, I participated in a number of seminars which prepared me for my visits with members of Congress that represent Tamarac. At those meetings I was able to discuss a variety of issues and concerns such as the budget cuts to grant programs our City has used in the past along with cuts to public school lunch programs. We also discussed transportation needs in our county.
Meeting with State Legislators in Tallahassee, FL: April 3rd - 7th
(Click here for my report in May’s newsletter). This trip was all about advocating our City’s position to legislators in Tallahassee. I met with state elected officials who represent Tamarac, and key legislators from around the state.
FLC Institute for Elected Officials (IEMO), Tampa, FL: June 1st - 5th
(Click here for my report in June’s newsletter). This trip was an educational trip specifically designed for newly elected officials. The primary objective of the IEMO is to provide elected municipal officials with an intensive academic program that will assist them in effectively meeting the requirements of their elected role. The program offers a comprehensive overview of Florida municipal government, presented by a faculty of top professionals in the field.
FLC Policy Committee Meeting Orlando, FL: June 15th - 16th
(Click here for my report in July’s newsletter). This meeting was designed to give an overview of what happened in the 2017 legislative session and what is expected to come up in the 2018 session.
NLC Summer Leadership Forum Cleveland OH: June 18th - 24th
(Click here for my report in July’s newsletter). This meeting was another policy meeting for environmental issues at the national level.
FLC Policy Meeting Orlando, FL: July 14th - 15th
I was not able to make this trip, due to illness.
FLC Annual Conference Orlando, FL: August 17th - 19th
This is a combination of seminars and policy workshops. I will include what I do and learn at this conference in my September newsletter.
NLC 2017 Leadership Summit San Diego, CA: October 2nd - 5th
This meeting offers an educational look at numerous topics including but not limited to:
Personal Development: How your inclusion approach impacts local, state, and federal governing
How Civic Engagement Builds Inclusion: Utilizing a unified purpose that bridges the community
Conversation on Inclusion and Equity: Training and tools to implement a practical inclusion model
I have applied for a scholarship for this summit but do not know at the time of writing this if I will be chosen.
NLC City Summit Charlotte, NC: November 13th - 20th
This is an educational meeting with seminars that build technical and leadership skills. Mobile workshops throughout the Queen City will showcase some real-world solutions to issues facing local governments with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship including the highly successful light rail project, an aggressive affordable housing initiative, and world-class sustainability programs.
I believe that this travel is for the benefit of the City especially in my first year of office. I have learned from each of the seminars I have attended and most firmly believe I was elected to advocate on behalf of my residents in the best manner possible. To me that means being involved at the state and national levels in setting policy and then advocating for those policies.
It is my hope that once you have the full picture you will understand why I felt the need to write this. I apologize for the length of this email and will try not to send such a lengthy message in the future, however, I do not believe it was fair to give you only some of the facts.
Please let me know your thoughts by emailing me at Julie.Fishman@Tamarac.org.