Florida Priorities Summit identifies the state’s most pressing issues

By Alfonso Flores

Florida State University

One week after the midterm elections, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald are hosting the Florida Priorities Summit as part of their “Florida Influencer Series.”

The two-day summit, at the University of Miami, brought together experts from across Florida to use their expertise to propose solutions to the major challenges facing the state: education, gun violence, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure, and environment.

“We went out to the influencer group and said ‘what are the top critical issues that we need to address,’” said Alexandra Villoch, president and publisher of the Miami Herald. “We also went out to readers across the state and invited them to come back and give us their ideas. There was a remarkable amount of consensus that led to these being the top topics.”

Using a crowd-sourcing tool, the Miami Herald asked readers across Florida which issues and topics mattered most.

“The number one issue that the influencers identified as most important to Florida’s future is education,” said Julio Frenk,  president of the University of Miami. “Education is truly the engine that makes progress possible in all other areas: the economy, the environment, social justice and healthcare.”

At the event, the influencers were divided into groups, each of which focused on one of the five different topics., and explored potential solutions to some of the hottest topics facing the Sunshine State.

“Between the work of the influencers today and the summit tomorrow where we invite the community in, our goal is that we will prepare documents that we deliver to our new governor and to our new elected officials in Tallahassee and to the local officials,” Villoch said. “We want to continue this through the 2020 elections and we want to make sure that we have civil engaged discourse that really speaks to the real issues that we have.”