April 6, 2017
Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida, was honored on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 with the Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. Distinguished Catholic Leader Award. The award was presented at the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol luncheon attended by the Catholic bishops of Florida, several state lawmakers and more than 300 Catholic faithful from across the state.
The Distinguished Catholic Leader Award is given to a Catholic Floridian whose life and work is especially noteworthy for enhancing Florida’s laws and way of life through Gospel values. The award is named for and was first presented to Thomas A. Horkan, Jr., founding executive director of the Florida Catholic Conference. CFO Atwater is only the seventh recipient since the award’s inception in 1995.
Michael Sheedy, executive director, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, presented the award to Atwater. “Jeff Atwater has distinguished himself in Florida politics as a Catholic leader who is principled, political in the best sense, civil without being soft and deeply engaged,” said Sheedy.
Atwater has been involved in public life at the local level, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and Senate, and served and as the President of the Florida Senate from 2008-2010. He was elected to statewide office as chief financial officer in 2010 and is serving in his second term. He will soon step down to assume a position at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Catholic Days at the Capitol is held annually during the Florida Legislative Session. Catholics from around the state gather in Tallahassee for a legislative briefing before attending scheduled meetings with their elected officials. During a luncheon for participants, selected civic leaders are honored for their contributions to the State of Florida.
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The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.