In 2005 the Suncoast League of Cities held its Annual Conference at the Mission Inn Resort at Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida where we celebrated the association’s fiftieth anniversary of service to the communities of west central Florida. During these fifty years the League has matured into one of the strongest representatives of local government and the citizens of our communities. It continues to promote the ideals of local government and has carried the word of the citizens and its members to the state and national leaders in Tallahassee and Washington D.C.
The history of the League reflects a path leading to the mutual sharing of information among elected officials. In 1922, the first Florida League of Cities’ President, Samuel Johnson, Mayor of St. Petersburg, recognized that the organization of the Florida League of Cities was of great importance and that, as a statewide organization, it would need to draw on regional input to effectively represent the interests of the entire state. With this consideration he orchestrated the formulation of the Suncoast League of Municipalities.
The establishment of the Suncoast League of Municipalities took thirty-three years to come to fruition and it was not until 1955 that the west central regional league became a viable independent association with input to the Florida League of Cities. In 2003 the Suncoast League of Municipalities was renamed and officially became the Suncoast League of Cities.
For twenty years the Suncoast League of Cities has held regular annual conferences which now attract more than 200 attendees. The conferences focus on the development of the organization and the education and training of local government officials on vital current issues impacting governance and the continued provision of high quality services. At the 50th anniversary conference, the League began the tradition of including national speakers on the conference agenda. These national speakers will provide attendees with broader insight into the annual themes of the conference.
The Suncoast League has elected a legislative committee that has developed an official organizational legislative agenda and brochure. This brochure is delivered to all members of the Florida Legislature both before and during the official legislative session. In addition, members are encouraged to use the materials as tools to promote the Suncoast League legislative agenda as they contact their local representatives. The Suncoast Regional Advocacy Team was formed in 2014 to be an active force in promoting the legislative agenda, all to secure support from legislators on issues that affect our cities and citizens.