By Adam Musgrave

On Friday, February 15 from 9-11a.m., the Winthrop Barn will host a roundtable sponsored by Rep. Ross Spano that will focus on small businesses in the Riverview and Brandon areas.

The forum, which Spano intends as a quarterly event, will focus on the legislative needs of small business owners and the tools available to them when interacting with government at the state and local levels.

“It’s designed to determine problems and burdens that they might have,” said Jonathan Rees, legislative aide to Spano. “We want to make sure they have a voice and that they know how to utilize the resources that are available to them.”

While the round table is still in the planning stage, Rees indicated that it would target between 40 and 50 small business owners ranging throughout Riverview, Brandon and Seffner. It will be a participant-based open forum, but will also contain a small panel of guest speakers – small business owners who have taken part in the legislative process on behalf of their companies.

“We want to emphasize expansion and road blocks with regard to work force and products,” Rees said.

“By hearing directly from small business owners,” Spano added, “I hope to effectively represent them in Tallahassee.”

This meeting, which Spano hopes will be the first of many to include both local and state governments as well as business owners throughout Hillsborough County, will take place just under a month before the start of the new legislative session in Tallahassee, which begins on Tuesday, March 5. Rees said that Rep. Spano intends to take the information from the round table and use it to help introduce legislation that will affect small business owners in a positive way.

In the meantime, Spano’s local offices are coordinating with the Chambers of Commerce for Seffner, Brandon and Riverview; they hope that, through open forums like this one, they will be able to form a partnership with small business owners throughout Hillsborough that will strengthen both parties.

Spano said that, through these forums, he hopes to “communicate the importance of how being actively involved in the legislative process will help small business flourish in our state.”

For more information on the Rep. Spano’s upcoming small business round table, contact Jonathan Rees at

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