The Florida Chamber of Commerce awarded Senate President Wilton Simpson with the 2021 Most Valuable Legislator (MVL) award on Wednesday.
In a press release, the business advocacy group announced the distinction, touting Simpson’s leadership during the 2021 Legislative Session that helped push 22 legislative priorities across the finish line for Governor Ron DeSantis and Republicans.
“The Florida Chamber’s close partnership with Senate President Wilton Simpson this year led to 22 Chamber priorities reaching Governor DeSantis’ desk, several of which were legacy issues that have been years in the making,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson. “Further, his steadfast support of Florida’s job creators was also central to preventing several harmful bills from passing both chambers, such as the data privacy bill, which included the trial lawyers’ dream of another new private cause of action.”
The Florida Chamber’s MVL award is the business community’s premier legislative award honoring a single Florida lawmaker for their outstanding legislative leadership in policy that will keep Florida competitive and willingness to stand up for free enterprise. The award is one of the Florida Chamber’s annual legislative awards following the 60-day legislative cycle. In May, the Florida Chamber announced its 2021 Distinguished Advocate Award winners, recognizing Florida lawmakers who ensured consideration of the business community’s legislative priorities and fought tirelessly for the passage of a Chamber-backed policy or a priority piece of pro-jobs legislation.
“Senate President Wilton Simpson is a successful farmer, businessman and a Florida Chamber member who has championed free enterprise since he entered the Senate in 2012,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Government and Political Relations David Hart. “For the big wins we shared this Legislative Session and for his close partnership and shared values, the Florida Chamber is pleased to recognize our friend Wilton Simpson as the Florida Chamber’s 2021 Most Valuable Legislator.”
Simpson, who represents Senate District 10, championed several key legislative issues in his first year at the helm. Some of the measures listed by the Florida Chamber that earned the Trilby Republican the MVL award include the passage of COVID-19 liability protections for Florida business and health care providers, the passage of Florida’s online sales tax reform to level the playing field for Florida’s local retailers, and strengthening Florida’s Unemployment Comp Trust Fund to prevent an immediate $713 million tax increase on employers, while reducing Florida’s Business Rent Tax from 5.5 percent down to 2 percent.
“The same innovation, resilience and spirit of Florida’s businesses that kept our state afloat during the pandemic are leading us back to pre-crisis economic prosperity,” said Simpson. “As a farmer and a business owner myself, I understand first-hand the sacrifices and commitment our business families made to ensure Floridians had the goods, services and safe food supply needed to get through these challenging times, and it was our responsibility to have their backs as we addressed important issues. The Florida Chamber has been a steadfast partner for us as we’ve worked to make Florida the most business-friendly state in the country, and I am grateful to them for this acknowledgement of that partnership.”
The Florida Chamber also noted that its annual publication — which includes the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card grades for all 160 legislators so Florida business leaders, families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters know who voted in favor of private sector job creation and a stronger economy— will be released in July.
We are honored to announce Senate President .@WiltonSimpson as our 2021 @FLChamber Most Valuable Legislator, a premier honor for outstanding legislative leadership in policy that will keep Florida competitive and willingness to stand up for free enterprise. #MVL #FLOpen4Biz pic.twitter.com/1WBWKAQQxO
— Florida Chamber (@FlChamber) June 23, 2021