Water policy was a driving force in Tallahassee during the 2016 Legislative Session. With the passage of comprehensive water policy reform, sought-after funding for Florida’s Everglades and discussions surrounding the use of Amendment 1 money, Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC (BCC) was engaged to build a proactive public affairs campaign to educate lawmakers and the media on the importance of the Florida Keys and the significance that they hold to the state, nation and world.
By highlighting the need to codify the protection and preservation of the Florida Keys into law, the effort took the form of the Florida Keys Stewardship Act, which sought to invest in water quality, restoration and protection; water supply protection; and land for critical habitat protection, public safety in case of an evacuation, property rights and military base protection. BCC worked hand-in-hand with Monroe County and the local governments and entities in support of the Act to create a strategic communications plan that included components, such as message development to ensure that all parties involved were in sync; media monitoring to identify opportunities to insert the effort’s message; earned media, including generating and placing regional opinion pieces and letters to the editor; collateral material development for lawmaker and media education and outreach, as well as grassroots use for Florida Keys Day at the State Capitol; and video design and development, in order to capture the vast benefits of the Florida Keys into a packaged three-minute video that left a lasting impression on lawmakers and key decision makers.
Ultimately, the Act, championed by Senators Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.
Bringing the Florida Keys into the water policy discussion was a priority for BCC from the outset and was a key contributor in the overwhelming support the Florida Keys Stewardship Act received during the 2016 Legislative Session. The codification of the Florida Keys into law underlines the importance of the one-of-the-kind area, but most importantly, it lays the groundwork for increased funding for the Florida Keys in the future.