As this weekend brings us into the New Year, we can look back at 2010 for what it was in Central Florida: tumultuous, unpredictable, continuously challenging for so many, but a year that still brought more hopeful signs than a lot of us had any reason to expect when the year began.

Freeline Media asks its readers: are we on the right road, and if so, who are the major movers and shakers steering us in that direction?

Politically, 2010 was a stunning year for the Florida Republican Party, which won all four of the state’s constitutional offices, held on to a crucial U.S. Senate seat, and picked up four congressional seats — stunning victories that mirrored the GOP’s pickup of 63 congressional seats nationwide and six U.S. Senate races. And yet …

… polls continue to show that Republicans are held in low esteem by voters, leading many analysts to conclude that the victories had more to do with a rejection of the Democratic Party’s governing in the past two years than a ringing endorsement of the GOP.  Likewise, the GOP winners appeared to be helped by the spirit and enthusiasm of the Tea Party movement and its call for a return to limited government principles. Is the GOP truly ready to make tough choices on spending priorities … or risk alienating the very voters who helped elect them?

Central Florida’s housing market remained weak, with prices still falling and the foreclosure rate remaining among the highest in the nation. And yet …

There were signs that banks were starting to move more quickly on closings for “short sale” transactions, helping to clear some of the high inventory in the region — a hopeful sign for sellers who have waited in frustration for the housing market to pick up steam.

The region’s unemployment rate remained stubbornly high — in double digits, above the national average. And yet …

Orlando showed signs of creating more new jobs than other regions of the state, an indication that this city may move out of the economic slump faster than Tampa, Miami and other major metro areas.

Looking back at 2010, Freeline Media Orlando asks its readers: who were the most powerful and influential citizens in Central Florida last year?

Who had the most important impact on this region’s political scene, on the real estate market, on the business community, on economic development, and on the cultural scene?

And will these same people remain the most influential players in 2011, with high expectations for their impact on jobs, housing, and growth in 2011?

And are there people who lost in 2010 — politically, or economically, or through a long-awaited but ultimately failed project — who may be poised for a major comeback this year?

 Email us at with your nominations for the top players of 2010, and who could play a crucial role in the region’s future throughout this year.

Freeline Media Orlando will then place the ten nominations in an Internet poll to determine the top ten rankings in order, and we’ll announce the winning rankings on Jan. 17 of the top ten “Most Powerful Citizens of Central Florida,” along with followup articles on who they are, why they were chosen, and why we expect them to be have a major impact this year.

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