Palm Coast & Daytona Beach, FL – The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce and Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce recently agreed to join forces to host a free four-day candidate-training program, the Flagler Volusia Public Leadership Institute (FVPLI), an expansion of the Flagler Chamber’s Public Leadership Institute. Representatives from both organizations are confident this new partnership will help build the bench of elected officials to lead both Flagler and Volusia Counties in the future.
The Flagler County Chamber launched its Flagler Public Leadership Institute in 2015 with a graduating class of ten. Half of the graduates ran for public office in 2016 and two – Flagler Beach City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur and Flagler County Commissioner Donald O’Brien -- were elected.
According to Lea Stokes, FVPLI Committee Chairwoman and director of Flagler County Chamber’s Foundation for Flagler’s Future, expanding the program to include applicants from Volusia County is a win/win for both counties.
“We’re delighted to collaborate with the Daytona Regional Chamber to offer the training program to applicants from Volusia County,” said Stokes. “Collectively, it’s important that we have the best qualified and prepared candidates elected to public office. That’s why FVPLI will become a valuable resource to encourage and cultivate the next generation of community leaders by helping them better understand the process of running for election.”
Nancy Keefer, president, and Jim Cameron, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Daytona Regional Chamber recognized that hosting a candidate-training program for Volusia residents was a top priority and partnering with the Flagler Chamber on FVPLI was a good opportunity and logical next step.
“Nurturing a strong economy in Volusia and Flagler counties depends on prudent decisions made by knowledgeable elected officials,” said Keefer. “At the same time, we need to continuously seek capable individuals that are skilled in making these decisions... these type individuals don't just happen by chance."
Created and led by industry expert Mark Mills of Mills Strategic Communications, FVPLI helps prospective, undeclared candidates navigate the challenging road to public service with greater confidence. Twenty to 24 applicants will be selected to attend four full-day sessions Friday, September 8; Saturday, September 9; Friday, September 15; and Saturday, September 16. The Friday sessions take place at the Flagler Chamber in Palm Coast, and the Saturday sessions will be held in Daytona Beach at a location to be confirmed. Participants, their significant others, 2015 program graduates, organizers, sponsors and other guests will also enjoy a kick-off reception the evening of Thursday, September 7 at the Flagler County Chamber.
FVPLI would be of benefit to individuals interested in running for office in 2018, as well as those who see public service as something they might consider in the future. Topics covered will include how to run for office, file, fundraise, canvas, address relevant audiences and more. The class will also gain valuable insight from the following special guests:
• Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy at the Florida Chamber
• State Senator Travis Hutson
• State Representatives Tom Leek & Paul Renner
• Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart
• Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis
• Flagler County Commissioner Donald O’Brien
• Members of Volusia County Council
The Flagler County and Daytona Regional Chambers of Commerce are both nonpartisan organizations that do not endorse or support candidates for office. The chambers will operate this candidate education program through the Flagler County Chamber’s 501c3, the Foundation for Flagler’s Future.
Thanks to support from generous community and business sponsors including TECO Energy and the Florida Chamber, this program is offered to aspiring candidates at no cost, as long as they are not incumbents and have not yet declared or filed. Applications can be found online here
and are due to the Flagler County Chamber and Daytona Regional Chamber before Friday, August 4 at 5PM.
Recognizing that finding qualified and knowledgeable campaign staff can be a challenge for candidates, the selection committee will offer a limited number of spots to applicants wishing to serve as campaign managers or treasurers.
For more information, call Gretchen Smith at 386-206-0953 or Jim Cameron at 386-566-2140.