Town Hall Session

Wednesday July 26, 2017

Royal Palms Ballroom in the Mizner Center

8:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Sponsored by:


For the second year, conference attendees will have the opportunity to experience a town hall discussion with Florida lawmakers and dependency court judges.  During the town hall, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and dialogue with legislators and other decision makers about critical issues facing the child welfare system.

Town Hall Participants

Senator Dennis Baxley
(R) Ocala

Dennis K. Baxley is a Republican member of the Florida Senate, representing the 12th district, which includes Sumter County and parts of Lake and Marion Counties in Central Florida, since 2016. He previously served in the Florida House of Representatives, representing parts of Marion County from 2000 to 2007 and again from 2010 until his election to the Senate in 2016.

Sen. Baxley was born in Ocala and attended Central Florida Community College, graduating with an associate degree in 1972. He then attended Florida State University, receiving degrees in sociology and psychology in 1974.


Representative Gayle Harrell
(R) Stuart

Gayle Harrell is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 83rd District, which includes Port St. Lucie and Stuart in northern Martin County and southern St. Lucie County, since 2012, previously representing the 81st District from 2000 to 2008 and again from 2010 to 2012.

Rep. Harrell’s commitment and service to her community prepared her for her role as the 83rd District’s representative in the Florida House of Representatives. As a child of a military family, a devoted wife and proud mother, a dedicated teacher, a successful business woman, and a committed community volunteer, Rep. Harrell was prepared to serve when she was elected.

Rep. Harrell also volunteers her time with various community organizations such as serving as the chair of the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee in the House, the Juvenile Justice Work Group, DUI and Alcohol Abuse Task Force meetings, Mental Child Abuse working groups, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Community Forums and many others.

Rep. Shevrin Jones
(D) Hollywood

Representative Shevrin D. Jones, also known as “Shev” was elected to the 101st district of the Florida House of Representative unopposed in 2012, and subsequently in 2014. Representative Jones serves proudly at City Year Miami as the Director of Major Gifts and Strategic Partnerships. Jones received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology from Florida A&M University, and is currently attending Florida Atlantic University where he is pursuing his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership – Higher Ed. Prior to becoming a legislator, Representative Jones served as a teacher in the Broward County School system from 2006-2008 and went on to teach at Florida Atlantic University High School from 2008-2012.

Jones not only serves his district, but he serves his community. He is a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Youth Summit and LEAD Nation; one of South Florida’s top youth organizations for leadership development training. In September of 2015, Jones was appointed to sit on President Obama’s College Promise Taskforce, and elected in November 2015 as the State Director for the National Young Elected Officials Network.

Representative Jeanette Nunez
(R) Miami

Since first elected to the Florida House in 2010, Representative Nuñez has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to fiscal responsibility and economic development and has been a dedicated public servant, fighting tirelessly for Florida’s children and families. Currently, she serves on the Board of Kristi House, an organization dedicated to child victims of sexual abuse. In 2007, Jeanette was named a “Hispanic Woman of Distinction of South Florida,” for her volunteerism and dedication to the community.

A proud alumna of Florida International University (FIU), Rep. Nuñez earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science, as well as her Master of Public Administration from South Florida’s largest public university.  Rep. Nuñez has also served as an Adjunct Professor and has been a Guest Lecturer for the College of Business and the College of Health.

Representative Cyndi Stevenson
(R) St. Johns

Cyndi Stevenson is a Florida native and more than thirty year resident of Northeast Florida. She was elected in April 2015 as State Representative for Florida House District 17 which lies entirely within the boundaries of St. Johns County. In her session as a state representative she voted to reduce state taxes by over $400 million, eliminated job killing regulations and helped block the expansion of entitlement spending.

As a St. Johns County Commissioner Rep. Stevenson has been a champion for streamlining government by reducing overly burdensome regulation and voting numerous times to cut our taxes to help grow businesses and create jobs for the future, while working to increase public safety and our quality of life. During her time with Children’s Home Society of Florida, Rep. Stevenson helped many children in abusive homes find stable families to ensure they grew up safe and became successful.

Judge Anthony Capizzi
Montgomery County, Ohio, Juvenile Court Judge

Judge Capizzi has served as Montgomery County, Ohio Juvenile Court Judge since 2004, previously serving as an acting judge for Dayton Municipal Court and in private practice. Judge Capizzi was admitted to the Ohio and Federal Bars in 1979, receiving his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law and a B.A. from Saint Bonaventure University. He is a 1989 graduate of Leadership Dayton.

Nationally, Judge Capizzi serves as President-Elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (NCJFCJ), and chair of NCJFCJ’s Juvenile Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance Project Advisory Committee. Judge Capizzi, widely known as a workaholic, continues to maintain the enthusiasm and energy for the welfare of children that has been his trademark throughout his legal career.