Chamber of Commerce establishes public policy committee


The St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce has formed a public policy committee (CPPC) aimed at helping the chamber react quickly to urgent business issues and advocate more effectively on behalf of the local business community.

Comprised of local business, community and governmental leaders, the committee will advise the chamber’s board of directors regarding policy positions, help draft the organization’s annual legislative agenda and assist with advocacy efforts at the local, regional, state and federal levels. In addition, the chamber’s Economic Development Council (EDC) will work closely with the committee to support the organization’s implementation of advocacy services and programs for its membership, including nonprofits and the community.

“We are striving to be the sturdiest advocate for the good businesses throughout our county, our region and beyond,” Chamber President and CEO Isabelle Rodriguez said. “The formation of the CPPC is a natural progression of the chamber’s business advocacy efforts. Having the expertise and point of view from members representing different industries will strengthen and speed up our advocacy process. It will allow us to dive deeper on each issue and leave no stone unturned when representing our members.”

Government Relations Manager Bob Porter said the CPPC will work closely with the Economic Development Council to make recommendations to the board and provide the chamber’s governing body with a clear picture of any issue that may need to be decided.

“It is our intention to make sure the board of directors has all the necessary information and the expert opinions of the members of the public policy committee to make these very important and often difficult decisions,” Porter said.

Public Policy Committee members include: Chairman Jason Barrett, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, Flagler Hospital; and members Michael Scine, CPA, Scine & Scine; Lou Noir-Jones, senior vice president, Wells Fargo; Bill Curtis, attorney, Law offices of Bill Curtis; Richard Lovelace, senior vice president, commercial services, The Stellar Group; Len Weeks, owner, Len Weeks Construction-Design-Development; Mary O’Brien, owner, Keen, LLC; Rick Kendust, state and local government affairs manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Mark Nighbor, vice president, marketing and communications, Advanced Disposal; Mark Litzinger, director of finance, budget and management, City of St. Augustine; Beth Sweeny, governmental relations coordinator, St. Johns County Public Schools; Rob Schlingmann, general manager, The Plantation at Ponte Vedra Beach; and Isabelle Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.