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City officials recognized with Home Rule HERO Award

By Staff | May 16, 2019

Mayor Kevin Ruane

Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, Vice Mayor Mick Denham and City Councilmember Holly Smith are being recognized by the Florida League of Cities as 2019 recipients of the Home Rule HERO Award for their “outspoken advocacy for municipal home rule leading up to and during the legislative session.”

The league is the united voice of Florida’s municipal governments and represents over 400 cities, towns and villages. The FLC presents the award to outstanding advocates who protect the home rule rights of city constituents and municipal citizens throughout the state. Home rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and non-elected, who consistently responded to the league’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective to an issue.

“The dedication and effort of these local officials during the 2019 legislative session was extraordinary,” FLC Legislative Director Scott Dudley said. “These are some of our biggest advocates for municipal issues, and they’re shining examples of local advocacy in action. On behalf of the league and its legislative team, we’re proud to recognize each and every one of them and thank them for their service.”

This is the second year Ruane has received the award, having previously received it in 2017.

“I am humbled by the recognition of this award and honored to serve this community,” he said.

Vice Mayor Mick Denham

Denham is being recognized for his third Home Rule HERO award – 2012, 2018 and 2019.

“This honorable award reflects not on any one individual but the tireless work of the entire city council for the citizens of Sanibel,” he said.

Smith is being recognized for a second year in a row, as many years as she has sat on the council.

“I cannot overstate the importance of our partnership with the Florida League of Cities,” she said. “I am grateful for all I have learned from the league. It is a privilege to be able to be in a position on council to represent and advocate for the city of Sanibel and for home rule. I thank the league for helping me learn to have a stronger and more educated voice in advocacy. It is truly an honor to receive this award on behalf of Sanibel along with the mayor and vice mayor.”

In February, Ruane and Smith participated in the Florida League of Cities FAST – Federal Action Strike Team – Washington D.C. Fly-In, during which they met with members of Congress to discuss key federal issues that affect municipalities.

City Councilmember Holly Smith

Ruane met with state legislators locally and in Tallahassee to advocate for water quality and the protection of cities’ home rule. He is currently president-elect of the Florida League of Mayors Board of Directors, the Sanibel voting delegate for the Florida League of Cities, serves on the nominating committee for the Florida League of Mayors. He served as a board member of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust from 2010 to 2015 and as chairman beginning 2011. Ruane was once again appointed to the FMIT Board in 2017.

He was appointed to serve on the Florida Municipal Insurance Investment Trust Committee in 2011 and currently serves as vice chair. Ruane is also a member of the Florida Municipal Pension Trust Fund and is a director on the Florida Municipal Loan Council and currently serves as the vice chair. He was also appointed to serve on the Florida League of Cities Legislative Policy Committee and the Resolutions Committee. In 2014, he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force and in 2019, he was reappointed to serve on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Ruane in 2016 was instrumental in forming the largest compact for water quality for the FLC in its history with over 165 mayors participating.

During this legislative session Denham met with state legislators locally and in Tallahassee to advocate for water quality, micro mobility legislation and protection of home rule. He serves on the Florida League of Cities Utilities, Natural Resources and Public Works Committee and the Florida League of Cities Nominating Committee, Resolutions Committee and serves as the at-large member of the Florida League of Cities Legislative Committee. Denham serves as the secretary, and previously served as president, of the FLC Southwest District.

Smith has again been very active throughout the legislative session. She visited with legislators in Tallahassee and locally to strongly advocate for the issues of water quality, protection of Sanibel’s right to regulate short-term rentals, micro mobility legislation and to protect local home rule. Smith serves on the Florida League of Cities Municipal Administration Committee and is part of the FAST delegation. She also serves as the city’s alternate liaison to the Southwest Florida League of Cities.