Special from The Florida Horse
BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Leaders within Florida’s Thoroughbred industry are proud to call Wilton Simpson, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, their friend and champion. Commissioner Simpson, a major advocate of the Florida Thoroughbreds, has galvanized long-run industry strength through unflinching leadership. To fully appreciate Commissioner Simpson’s impacts, we look back on his civil service years prior to election into Florida’s top agricultural post.
As a member of the Florida Senate and the Presiding Officer of the Florida Senate from 2020-2022, Commissioner Simpson led the charge for policies sustaining Florida’s Thoroughbred breeders and owners. Staring down the barrel of a statewide “decoupling” assault, steadfast Simpson did not blink. He beat back what would have otherwise been cataclysmic to the Florida Thoroughbred industry.
“Commissioner Simpson has been a true champion for breeders and owners. We are grateful for his leadership and commitment, even in the most challenging of circumstances” FTBOA CEO Lonny Powell said.
As Commissioner, Simpson’s steady charge has included:
- Direct investment into industry marketing and promotion;
- Administrating $55 million of breeding and racing incentives over the next two fiscal years;
- And fully funding implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in Florida, forestalling purse account raids in the process.
FTBOA President George Isaacs credits Simpson with sustaining Florida as a top producer of Thoroughbreds and its three-quarters national share of the 2-year-old Thoroughbreds auction market.
“Championship results ensure Florida horses and horsemen compete with all contenders and back down to no one. Wilton Simpson, our Tallahassee champion, helps hold that high ground for us.”
Simpson said he remains enthusiastic about the world renowned Florida Thoroughbred industry and the economic contributions it provides Florida.
“As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, I am proud to champion the interests of the Thoroughbred community and help foster an environment that encourages its continued growth,” Commissioner Simpson said. “By leveraging our collective strengths, resources and skills, we can continue to showcase the immense potential of our industry on a global stage.”
Return to the Sept. 27 issue of Wire to Wire