These business owners can’t afford to take time away from small businesses, nor can they afford to fly to Tallahassee. There are times when it will cost $1,000 to fly there and back in the same business day. Q. How would you critique the Chamber’s role in the casino debate?
No matter how I personally feel, I think the Chamber did what it was supposed to do. It did its due diligence. It had three opportunities for Chamber members to weigh in. [Oeters is referring to three Chamber events where ticket-holding participants completed surveys on their gambling views. Each showed support for casinos.] They cast a democratic ballot. The votes were taken, if people who were against gambling didn’t show up, what are we supposed to do?Q. It sounds like you got a lot of heat
Yes, the chamber did. But if you look around, we were the only ones who took a position one way or the other.Q. The Chamber’s board eventually endorsed bringing casinos to downtown Miami under certain conditions. How did you vote?
I’m not going to say. I work for a Baptist organization that’s faith-based. And I represent the Chamber that’s for it. So I’m a lose-lose.Q. When were you last sailing?
Oh my gosh, sailing. It’s been a while.
Sailing is still my passion. I love sailing. What has happened with the community work and with my job and with the recent passage of the healthcare bill, you can only imagine there are just not enough hours in the day.
I also have a daughter who is 13 years old. Heading into the danger zone! She has gotten into horseback riding. I became an equestrian as a child. I have gotten back into horseback riding. And I am training to fox hunt next fall in Virginia.Q. What’s it like having a teenage daughter with everything you’re doing?
I think it has been a very good experience for Raquel. She has been to so many places. She went with me to a national convention for state legislators. We had to walk through a picket line. How may kids who are 13 years old even know what a picket line is? Or understand the First Amendment and free speech?
She was last night making the casseroles for Camillus House [for a Baptist fundraiser]. We’re going to be in Panama — received an invitation from the Secretary of the Interior in Panama. She was at the Goals Conference for the Chamber...These are things that she will remember…