Meet the Players: Government Officials

Advocacy & Policy,

Meet the Players: Government Officials 

As part of our journey to Make Housing Happen, we’ve been looking more closely at all the players who need to come together: 

We believe that when we get clear about what each group needs, we’ll discover new ways to overcome assumptions and break through roadblocks.  

Last time, we looked at Builders, Investors & Developers. (Missed it? Click here to read.) 

Today, let’s look behind-the-scenes at our government officials: elected, appointed and staff.  

Elected Officials 

Elected Officials are the people who’ve raised their hand for public service and won their office through a majority of us voting for them. Here in Southwest Florida, that includes: 

  • Federal government: two US senators and 28 US representatives 
  • State government: the governor, various state roles plus and state senators and representatives from your local area 
  • County government: commissioners, school boards and even judges 
  • Local government: mayors and city councils 

Plus, there are a handful of elected leaders for special districts, which include fire districts, mosquito control, libraries and others.  

That’s a lot of possible stakeholders! No wonder this gets complicated.  

To make housing happen faster and easier, Elected Officials need: 

  • Continued support from voters and campaign investors 
  • Opportunities to take a long-term view and not be swayed by short-term fears about change 

[For a list of the elected officials in your area, click here.}

Government Staff 

In addition to your elected officials, non-elected staff execute the laws and processes. Staff are on the front-line of issues facing the elected official and often hear what’s happening in the community before the elected official does. In some cases, the staff remains the same even when the elected official changes. So government staff is an important part of any effort to make housing happen.  

We all know how fast the world has changed in the past few years, and our local government teams have worked hard to keep up, but often only have access to limited resources. Making future changes can feel difficult when the pressure is on to simply keep up with what’s happening today.  

To make housing happen faster and easier, government staff need: 

  • Direction from their elected officials that it’s okay to change the old ways and experiment with new ideas (and protection from political retribution if a new idea doesn’t work). 
  • Broader professional development, collaboration and connection outside of their community to learn about what’s possible 
  • Clear agreements with their elected officials on the short and long-term goals— and the space to execute the work 

It’s clear that elected officials and their staffs also personally struggle with housing here in Southwest Florida, and so we’re hopeful there are common areas all parties can continue to agree on—and begin to make housing happen.    

Next time, we’ll dive into another important group: employers. Thanks for being here.  

P.S. As a reminder, we’re a volunteer task force powered by SWFL Inc., the region’s only five-star Chamber of Commerce as awarded by the US Chamber of Commerce. SWFL Inc. represents over 3400 businesses and their 7,000+ employees in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties in Southwest Florida.  

Our goal is to help make this complicated issue a little simpler so we can bring people together and influence housing decisions faster. We love to hear from you. Click here to give us your thoughts on any of these notes, ask a question or tell us YOUR story