It seems like a decade since last December, but Christmas is finally here.
The pandemic means Christmas will be a little different this year, but aside from a Scrooge-esque CDC note about cookies, tinsel, trees, or gifts, there’s still fun to be had.
And many of the joys of the Christmas season would not be possible without lobbyists – or without the individuals and organizations whose work helps ensure the very things that make the holiday happen.
Those planning to travel this year will likely want to keep loved ones at bay (twice as much) to keep the virus from spreading. Fortunately, the hotels are open, so nobody has to slum in a manger on Christmas Eve.
There’s a good chance the hotel will become a Marriott – after all, they’re the largest hotel in the country, with 30 labels ranging from budget to top-notch luxury.
Florida is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and is home to more than 400 of its nearly 7,500 locations worldwide. They are even a few hundred feet from the Capitol where there is no shortage of lobbyists to work for them.
Your Tallahassee team includes Al Cardenas, Slater Bayliss, Stephen Shiver and Jeff Woodburn the advocacy group; Angela Bonds, Peter Dunbar, Martha Edenfield, Chris Moya and Jennifer Ungru by Dean Mead; as well as in-house lawyer Travis Cutler.
If a traditional hotel isn’t your style, a vacation rental might fit the bill. The early days of the pandemic hit the industry particularly hard, as dictated by a gubernatorial mandate turn off. Fortunately, their Christmas miracle came in May when the state allowed them to reopen in most counties
Vacation rentals are big business in Florida. Airbnb – the biggest, but nowhere near the only player in the Sunshine State – said the hosts raised in Florida more than $ 1 billion in rents and state and local governments earned $ 100 million in tax revenue via the platform last year.
Airbnb has plenty of business in the Capitol and a fleet of lobbyists working on their behalf, including Paul Bradshaw, Rachel Cone, Oscar Anderson, Brian Bautista, David Browning, Chris Dudley, Mercer Fearington, Sydney Ridley and Clark Smith the southern group; Robert Hawken from Leath Consulting; and Lori Killinger and Chris Lyon by Lewis Longman & Walker.
For those who decide to fly this Christmas, there is a good chance they will be offered a quick coronavirus test. Delta – represented by Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace, Jim Boxold, Justin Day, Andrew Ketchel and Chris Schoonover of Capital City Consulting – one of the largest airlines in the world – is currently testing the tests for flights between Atlanta and Amsterdam.
Airlines recently started offering antigen testing to calm the nerves of concerned travelers. Quidel Corp. produced the first FDA approved antigen test in May and it produces results in minutes. The molecular diagnostic health care company is headquartered in San Diego, but thanks also to a presence in Tallahassee Claudia Davant and Amanda Frazier by Adams St. Advocates.
With traditional activities like door-to-door Christmas carols and personal church services, now is a good time to turn on your Apple TV or turn off your Blu-ray player to watch some vacation classics.
From the Holiday Inn to the Home Alone, there is a Christmas movie for everyone. But only a handful were shot in Florida.
The late one Jim VarneyErnest saves Christmas filmed in the city beautifulhas some charm. And there are compelling arguments that Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands qualifies. But nobody can claim that this is a classic at the level of Frank CapraIt is a wonderful life.
Film Florida wants to correct the situation by encouraging more film companies to choose the Sunshine State for their next production, Christmas themed or otherwise. The Advocacy Group is helping them drive a nationwide film production program.
There is also the Motion Picture Association, which describes itself as “the leading proponent of the film, television and streaming industries around the world”. However, in Florida they turn to Will McKinley, Angela Dempsey and Fred Dickinson from PooleMcKinley for assistance.
Currently, most of the programs attracting studios to Florida are run locally. The Tampa Hillsborough Film and Digital Media Commission, also known as Film Tampa Bay, has had some success.
You are also present in Tallahassee and have reached out to the hometown team at Ron Pierce, Natalie King, and Ed Briggs at RSA Consulting Group to attract legislature attention.
If you rely on a streaming device for your vacation entertainment, you need a solid internet connection.
AT&T knows a thing or two about how to keep people online. In addition to being one of the largest wireless carriers, the company is also the ISP in much of the state. The telecommunications giant employs no fewer than 50 lobbyists, including Ron book and Marty Fiorentino, Mark Pinto and Joe Mobley the Fiorentino Group, to name a few. Verizon is another big player in the industry and they rely on it Michael Corcoran, Matt Blair, Jacqueline Corcoran and Andrea Tovar from Corcoran Partners to get things done in legislation.
No matter what’s playing on the screen, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without Christmas lights.
Whether a modest string around the tree or a massive production in the style of Clark Griswoldneed to be plugged into the grid.
There are numerous energy companies operating in Florida, but the largest is Florida Power & Light. Fittingly, they have the biggest Florida lobbying names working for them.
Your extensive roster includes Brian Ballard, Brady Benford and Chris Dorworth from Ballard Partners; Travis Blanton from Johnson & Blanton; Ron book;; Fred Karlinsky from Greenberg Sad; Candice Ericks from Ericks Consultants; Bill Rubin, Heather Turnbull, Melissa Akeson and Christopher Finkbeiner from Rubin Turnbull & Associates; Capital city advice; Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick and Rob Johnson the Mayernick Group; Sean Pittman the Pittman Law Group; David Ramba and Allison Carvajal the Ramba Consulting Group; and Screven Watson by Screven Watson & Associates.
For those keeping track of things, this list features three companies that consistently rank in the top 5 every quarter.
Another of these top firms, GrayRobinson, may not be advocating FPL, but they are certainly in the room when utility legislation is up for discussion.
That is due to the permanent president Dean Cannon and lobbyists Kirk Pepper and Joseph Salzverg represent both the Florida Municipal Electric Association and the Florida Municipal Power Agency.
In addition, there is the Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group, which represents investor-owned electricity companies, rural electricity cooperatives and municipal electricity companies on environmental issues affecting the utility industry. These problems occur frequently in the capital, according to the FCG David Childs, Carl Eldred, Gary Hunter, Robert Manning and Michael Petrovich from Hopping Green & Sams will keep you up to date.
With the lights on and the scene set, it’s finally time to pour some drinks. While Christmas is the perfect time for a glass of eggnog, most people will want to mix it up for their second drink – perhaps with a bottle of beer from one of the many craft breweries represented by the Florida Brewers Guild. The guild’s membership had a hard time during the pandemic, but it would be harder if Josh Aubuchon and Mark Delegal of Delegal Aubuchon Consulting didn’t have their backs in Tallahassee.
When we finish, let’s not forget the reason for the season. For many, the next few days have little to do with gifts and Jolly Old Saint Nick. They will use the next few days to count their blessings at the end of an unprecedentedly difficult year.
The denomination is likely to have little time to ponder lobbying its lawmakers this holiday season, especially as it is focused on helping the many Floridians in need. No wonder, then, that religious organizations across the state turn to the professionals when they need intervention in the capital.
The Catholic Conference in Florida, the public voice behind the Catholic Bishops of Floridalooks Ingrid Delgado and Michael Sheedy when help is needed in Tallahassee.