FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 15

FEATURE

PUTTING THE

ACTION POLITICAL
IN

ACTION

"THERE'S AN OLD saying in legislative circles," Association
Executive Vice President Alan Shelby recalls, "that goes something like this: 'If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.'"
Sitting at his desk at the
Association office, Shelby is truly
in his element: surrounded by
forest products ranging from
walls made of extra-wide heart
cypress to the pictures of family,
wild game and fish he keeps on
display, and talking politics and
legislation. Before being named
EVP, he lobbied on behalf of
the Association for more than a
decade. Prior to that, he represented the Florida Association of
Counties for several years.
"It's our goal to make sure that
forestry always has a seat at the
table," Shelby continues. "Our
membership numbers are growing, and there is strength in
numbers."
After a survey indicated that legislative advocacy is members' top priority and also where they feel the Association's
power lies, leadership decided that it made sense to focus
resources and efforts on that area to maximize the Association's
relevance to both members and policy makers.
Shelby turns to a legislative map pulled up on his computer screen.
"The challenge we face," he explains, pointing to the map,
"is what I call the 80/20 Rule. Eighty percent of Florida's forests are north of this line here, near Ocala. Only 20 percent
of Florida's legislature is from that same area. Go south of
the line and you have the opposite situation: 20 percent of
our forests and 80 percent of the elected officials. That's not
an ideal distribution."
How can this be overcome?
"Well, we can't bring the forests to the legislators by planting more trees in our population centers, but we can make a

seat at the table for ourselves in other ways," Shelby answers.
"I guess in a nutshell you could say we are putting the 'action'
in political action. It's a two-pronged approach."
The first prong is a revitalization of TREEPAC, the Association's
political action committee
(PAC). Through TREEPAC, the
Association contributes to candidates running for the state House
or Senate. The criteria: support of
the forest industry and a pro-business philosophy.
"TREEPAC is nonpartisan,"
Shelby specifies. "We don't care
what letter comes after your name
(an indication of political affiliation); we only care about whether
you will help ensure working forests keep working."
TREEPAC is the only PAC solely
representing forestry in Florida.
Its mission is to help elect candidates who will work to protect
the ability to grow, harvest and use Florida's forest resources.
Has it helped?
Shelby nods decisively. "The forest industry has had very
successful legislative sessions the past several years. We
have been able to protect Greenbelt and other important
provisions. We have increased truck weights. And we have
also significantly expanded sales tax exemptions. These and
other issues have created efficiencies and resulted in major
savings for our members.
"The reason we were able to do that?" he asks. "Having
friends in the legislature who know us and who understand
the public benefits our industry and working forests provide."
So no worries about TREEPAC, then?
Shelby shakes his head in disagreement. "We can't rely on
our success in past sessions. Every year is a new playing field.
Every election cycle is a fresh start, especially with term limits.
"For our friends and supporters to help us, they must first
get elected. And to get elected, they need money. The cost

Florida Forests 15 Spring/Summer 2017



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017

Executive Outlook
President’s Message
Wildland Fires on the Rise
William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
2017 Legislative Report
Forestry Day at the Capitol
Putting the Action in Political Action
Taxing Matters
An Audience With the President
2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
Snapshots
Products & Services Marketplace
Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Intro
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover1
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover2
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 4
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 5
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Executive Outlook
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - President’s Message
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Wildland Fires on the Rise
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 11
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Legislative Report
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 13
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Forestry Day at the Capitol
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Putting the Action in Political Action
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 16
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Taxing Matters
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 18
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - An Audience With the President
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 20
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 22
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Snapshots
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 25
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 26
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 27
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Products & Services Marketplace
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 29
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover4
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