The Florida Influencer Series

Florida Influencers provide recommendations for how to solve the state’s complex problems

Solving Florida’s complex problems will require insight, creativity and consensus. For the past seven months, the Florida Influencers — 50 leaders in business, health care, law, nonprofits and the arts — have provided just that as they addressed reader questions and offered their views on the issues that matter most to people who live in our state.

The Influencers Series and last week’s Florida Priorities Summit are a project by the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald to shed more light than heat on the subjects that matter in the state.

The Influencers identified five core issues that are of most importance to Florida — health care, education, infrastructure/transportation, the environment and gun violence. And last week, they came together for an in-person summit to review and refine the results of surveys they answered throughout the summer and fall, and produced concrete recommendations for Florida’s next governor and Legislature.

Working through the issues wasn’t easy. For example, environmentalists, a billionaire real estate developer and the head of the Florida Petroleum Council were among the members of the Environment Working Group. Despite their different backgrounds and perspectives, after impassioned debate they found consensus. As did the other four working groups. Our hope is that our lawmakers might do the same.

Here are their final reports:

Education: Students need smaller classes and safer schools, teachers need more pay

Environment: Florida needs to plan for growth and create science-based benchmarks

Health care: Increase access to care by expanding Medicaid and considering subsidies

Gun violence: New laws need to close loopholes, create a database, and reform Stand Your Ground

Transportation: Solving traffic gridlock requires political will and public buy-in