In a democratic society, citizens have the right to be heard and be part of the decision-making process. Unfortunately, when it comes to state-level legislation, this right is often ignored. In many cases, the state Legislature preempts local ordinances, taking away the voice of citizens in their communities. This is where the Local Voices United (LVU) Ambassador program comes in. It empowers communities to be heard and fight for the right to make their own decisions.
Cities reflect the civic groups, neighborhood associations, local chambers of commerce and other organizations that make up the community. When the Legislature preempts, they not only take municipal regulatory options off the table for issues that may arise in a city, but they also strip the voice of citizens in their communities.
Preemption means that communities lose their ability to solve problems in the way that best fits their unique needs. It also means that citizens lose their voice in the decision-making process. We have seen unprecedented attacks on self-governance over the past few legislative sessions, and these attempts to wrest control from Florida’s cities will only escalate.
Now, more than ever, the power of local voices is critical for Florida’s 411 cities. The LVU Ambassador program empowers elected officials to advocate for their communities. These ambassadors work to engage their community leaders, raise awareness about the negative impact of preemption and fight for the right of communities to make their own decisions. They work alongside Florida League of Cities (FLC) staff, who bring their experience and knowledge to bear on any legislation they engage with.
“Every elected official should be participating in the Local Voices United Ambassador program. It is incredibly easy to do, both as a citizen and city official,” said Auburndale Mayor Dorothea Taylor Bogert. “Being an LVU Ambassador has allowed me to connect with citizens to help them understand that our legislators really do listen when they speak up and educate them on how they can get involved in the issues that directly impact their daily lives.”