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Business Voice of Greater Lakeland, the political arm of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, has endorsed 12 local candidates for office.

The endorsements came after interviewing candidates July 19 and 20, Business Voice Chairman Matt Mucci said.

“BusinessVoice works to ensure the election of business-minded candidates to state and local office, and to serve as an endorsement board for those individuals who personify the objectives of the business community,” according to the organization’s website.

Candidates endorsed by Business Voice for 2016 are:

  • Kelli Stargel – Florida Senate, District 22
  • Neil Combee – Florida House, District 39
  • Colleen Burton – Florida House, District 40
  • Sam Killebrew – Florida House, District 41
  • Mike La Rosa – Florida House, District 42
  • Ben Albritton – Florida House, District 56
  • Grady Judd – Polk County Sheriff
  • Bill Braswell – Polk County Commission, District 3
  • John Hall – Polk County Commission, District 5
  • Hunt Berryman – Polk County School Board, District 1
  • Kevin Kitto – Polk County School Board, District 2
  • Becky Troutman – Polk County School Board, District 4

Candidate questionnaires will be posted to, according to a news release issued by the chamber today. The questionnaires are not yet available at the site.

The Chamber will host local candidates Tuesday evening at its Political Hob Nob at the Sun ‘n Fun Florida Air Museum. Attendees will be able to meet candidates and participate in a straw poll, which provides another reflection of chamber members’ preferences.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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