City leaders from all over Florida traveled to Washington, DC, with the Florida League of Cities (FLC) for the Federal Action Strike Team (FAST) Fly-In. Over 50 municipal officials, the largest-ever number of FAST attendees, participated in the federal advocacy trip. They met with Florida’s congressional delegation members and advocated for key issues affecting cities.

The FAST Fly-In had paused for the last three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security issues at the Capitol. This delegation trip provided an opportunity to build relationships with Florida’s congressional leaders, introduce the FLC to freshmen members and help them better understand the local impacts of the issues discussed.

“The League’s FAST Fly-In trip allows us to have in-person conversations with members of Florida’s congressional delegation and build relationships that will strengthen Florida,” said FLC President Jolien Caraballo, Vice Mayor for the City of Port St. Lucie. “When local, state and federal officials work together, our residents benefit, and our communities thrive. We appreciate the members of Congress meeting with us to discuss important issues impacting our local communities.”

During their time in our nation’s capital, local leaders focused their advocacy efforts on discussing key priority issues including reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), simplification of the federal grants process and cybersecurity assistance, among other issues. It was a busy time to be in Washington, as the Fly-In coincided with President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

FAST Chair Anne Gerwig, Mayor of the Village of Wellington, said, “Each participant brought a unique perspective to our meetings, which helped our congressional delegation better understand how the issues we discussed impact Florida’s cities. I was proud to stand beside my fellow municipal officials and advocate for Florida cities with a unified voice.”

The group met with 21 members of Florida’s U.S. House delegation, or their staff, as well as Florida’s two Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. Fly-In attendees also had a briefing with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, where they spoke with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as the Director of the Office of National Cybersecurity.

By Allison Payne

Allison Payne is Manager of Advocacy Programs and Federal Affairs at the Florida League of Cities.