Mayor Leslie Waters said she and the rest of the Seminole City Council were caught by surprise when U. S. Rep. David Jolly dropped in during Tuesday’s meeting.
Jolly, a Republican, was there to honor Waters and council member Thom Barnhorn, who received Home Rule Hero awards from the Florida League of Cities. Waters said the recognition was memorialized into the U.S. Congressional Record.
The League recently recognized nearly 70 city officials with 2016 Home Rule Hero Awards. Those local government officials earned the award for their tireless efforts to advance the League’s legislative agenda and help protect the home rule powers of Florida’s cities during the 2016 legislative session.
“Our Home Rule Heroes are the embodiment of local advocacy at its finest,” said Hawthorne Mayor and Florida League of Cities President Matt Surrency. “These dedicated municipal officials take time out of their busy schedules to build relationships with their legislators and help them understand the issues that are most important to their communities. Thank you for all you do to help protect Home Rule and preserve the quality of life in your city.”
Home rule is the ability for a city to establish its own form of government and enact ordinances, codes, plans and resolutions without prior state approval. The Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials – both elected and nonelected – who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective to an issue.
Other Tampa Bay area officials who received the award were Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson, Belleair Commissioner Tom Shelly and Tampa Council member Mark Suarez.
The Florida League of Cities is the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments. Its goals are to serve the needs of Florida’s cities and promote local self-government. The League was founded on the belief that local self-government is the keystone of American democracy.