Issue 16, April 17th

If you missed last week’s meeting, unfortunately that was a significant loss for you.  Some may have wondered “why are we hearing from the founder a women’s bathing suit company?”  If you weren’t familiar with Venus Swimwear you may be surprised to learn the $300 million company, well on its way to $1 billion in annual sales, began and continues to operate here in Jacksonville Florida.  I won’t ruin the content in case you get another chance to hear from Daryle, but I will say several people approached me after the meeting with comments like “that was awesome!”  “Best speaker so far this year!”  This was the story of a true entrepreneur who had an idea, took some risks, and is now enjoying early retirement at a rather young age with a baby due this June!

Looking through the news I was sorry to see one of members, Congressman Ander Crenshaw, had decided not to run for re-election.  The Congressman has served our area with honor over his 8 terns in office making our country’s defense his top priority.  Additionally, he has fought vigorously for tax reform, accountability, and more importantly to honor our commitments to our veterans.  His retirement however creates an opportunity for a few of our other members.  Former Sheriff Rutherford, State Representatives Ray and McBurney and Property Appraiser Jerry Holland have been mentioned as possible successors.  No doubt any would serve our community well in D.C.

Coincidentally this week’s program follows the theme of Government at the National Level with John Caulfield who recently retired as Chief of Mission for the State Department in Cuba.  I heard him speak at another organization not long ago and give deeper insight as to the recent reestablishing of relations with Cuba.  On a personal note while I disagree with President Obama on many issues, this was one I fully supported.  We could have continued to hold the line on our position against our neighbor 90 miles away until after the Castro leadership passes on.  However; it’s my opinion we likely would have found ourselves with a far greater problem of the vacuum created then and the potential for chaos so close to our home. If you have misgivings or are undecided about the recent developments I highly encourage you to join us this Wednesday for his presentation.

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