Florida Priorities Summit to facilitate discussions on issues impacting community

By Esther Animalu

University of Miami

Florida leaders, decision makers and voters are gathered Monday and Tuesday in Coral Gables to tackle and discuss policy issues that state lawmakers will face in the upcoming legislative session.

The second annual Florida Priorities Summit at University of Miami aims to help build a better Florida by spreading awareness on statewide concerns and will include discussions on possible solutions, which will be recommended to Florida’s elected officials.

The summit, hosted by UM, is produced by the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald.

Panelists during the “Election Shakeout”Session of the 2018 Summit. From right to left: Michael Putnam, Rachel Smolkin, Marc Caputo.

“The Florida Priorities Summit will allow professionals and the public to partake in discussions on critical topics that are impacting our local community and beyond,” said Rick Hirsch, managing editor of the Miami Herald. “It’s important to encourage an open dialogue on these subjects and craft solutions.”

The summit on Nov. 18 and 19 will highlight six main topics of discussion: the economy, environment, education, housing, healthcare and transportation.

Over the course of the past several months, 50 influencers have given their insights on key issues affecting Florida. These influencers aim to foster discussions at the summit that challenge political assumptions and create a shared vision for Florida.

“As a team we searched for influential people in Florida that can speak to these topics at hand,” Hirsch said. “Many of these influencers come from different backgrounds and experiences that can resonate with the public through their stories on these subjects.”

The influencers range from UM President Julio Frenk to Karen Arnold, the chief operating officer of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Day one of the summit is open by invitation to the media and professionals. The influencers will meet in small groups to draft recommendations on specific topics.

Day two of the event is open to the public, with panels of experts on key topics.

The event will occur at UM’s Donna Shalala Student Center. Monday’s event runs through 5 p.m.; Tuesday’s activities are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Student journalists from UM, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and Florida International University will be writing stories and creating videos for their campus publications and posting to social media during the summit. In addition to this, these students will also post coverage on this blog.

Miami Hurricane editor-in-chief Rebecca Goddard, a junior majoring in motion pictures attended the summit last year to cover it for The Hurricane and the Miami Herald. She said that it was very inspiring to hear from so many people who are making an impact in South Florida.

“It’s especially important for student journalists to attend events like these because it helps them break out of the campus bubble,” Goddard said. “It’s easy to get caught up with university news, but we need to remember that there’s a whole world of off campus issues to think about.”