Charlie Crist – Florida Politics

Donald Trump Jr.: Ron DeSantis was with us from the start

Rising rapidly in the Republican gubernatorial primary polls under President Donald Trump‘s balloon, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis brought a little of the president’s family mojo to Orlando Tuesday, as Donald Trump Jr. reminded an appreciative crowd that DeSantis had been with his father from the start.

“Ron DeSantis was there from Day 1. He got it. He saw it. He went on TV. He was with us when it wasn’t cool to be with us,” Trump declared to several hundred exuberant people packing the B.B. King‘s Blues Club in Orlando.

In a Republican Party in which President Trump rewards loyalty, DeSantis is soaking it up, shooting well past Republican rival Adam Putnam in the polls and using that chip to draw large, loud crowds dedicated to Trump, fueled by every attack on him, and convinced that he is making America great again.

Trump Jr. was there on International Drive Wednesday to drive those points home.

“There is not a single matrix in existence, economic or otherwise, where we are not better off than we were four years ago under the previous administration. Not a one,” Trump Jr. told the crowd. “So what I see the Democrats running on: doing everything against Donald Trump.”

For his part, DeSantis provided much of the speech he’s been using since taking his campaign on the road three weeks ago. He railed against crony capitalism in Tallahassee, against illegal immigrants, against the sugar industry’s influence over water and natural resources, against Common Core curriculum guidelines in schools, pushing for creating a curriculum to study the U.S. Constitution, and taking shots at Putnam on every issue, including declaring him to be “in the pocket of big sugar.”

Putnam’s name drew boos in this crowd.

“Adam Putnam, though I respect him, he is somebody who is a career politician. He’s been in office since he was 22 years old. He’s a transactional Republican. And he is the choice of every insider in Tallahassee. He is the crown prince of crony capitalism. He’s the toast of Tallahassee,” DeSantis said.

“I, on the other hand, am an Iraq veteran,” DeSantis declared, drawing a huge cheer. “I am a principled, proven conservative leader. And I am endorsed by the president of the United States.”

That drew show-stopping applause.

DeSantis also appears to have found a winning issue with conservatives with his talk of adding U.S. Constitution curriculum to the schools; this crowd thundered when he spoke of it.

“We gotta get the Constitution back in the classroom. It can’t be a day or a week. I think it really needs to be a comprehensive study about the principles that make our country unique,” DeSantis said. “Because when you think about it, we have different religious denominations. We have different ethnic ancestries. But the thing that’s supposed to unite us is the belief that we serve enduring truths and fundamental principles. We need to be teaching the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If you don’t have that foundation, then I don’t think you are fully prepared for citizenship.

“So we’re going to make that something that is an emphasis. And if there are teachers that excel in that, let’s pay them more,” he said.

DeSantis also praised Gov. Rick Scott, saying “We have a chance to build off what Rick Scott has done,” and then painted Scott’s predecessor, Republican-turned-independent-turned Democrat Charlie Crist as the king of cronyism, and implying that Putnam was the same.

“None of that is possible if we go back to the days of Charlie Crist, when the good old boys ran the show,” DeSantis said.

Florida politicians reflect on passing of nursing legend Barbara Lumpkin

Barbara Lumpkin, a widely respected nurse and advocate in the Sunshine State, sadly passed away Thursday night at the age of 81.

An Ohio native, Lumpkin worked as a nurse for 16 years prior to moving in 1974 to Florida. There, she began work as a lobbyist for the Florida Nurses Association. 

“Barbara Lumpkin was the backbone of the FNA legislative program for over 30 years. She has educated and mentored countless nurses and built the foundation for a strong presence for nurses in the health policy arena in our state as well as nationally,” FNA Executive Director Willa Fuller said. “Her legacy is undeniable. She will be missed.”

She joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2007, but the fruits of her labor at FNA would continue to be witnessed almost a decade later.

Lumpkin — who was a fixture in the Capitol during legislative sessions — was “a trailblazer” and “giant of the nursing profession,” said Phillis Oeters, vice president of government relations for Baptist Health South Florida.

In 2016, the state passed the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act. The legislation, backed by FNA, had appeared before the legislature for 22 years prior. The law permits advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances.

“Her life’s work culminated with the passage of the Nurse Prescribing Act in 2016,” said Martha DeCastro, Vice President for Nursing and Clinical Care Policy at the Florida Hospital Association. “The outpouring of support from nurses across the state is a testament to her incredible legacy. I am so very grateful for her life, her passion, and for her friendship.”

Appreciation of her work and the widespread impact of her influence are evident. On Friday, a handful of politicians from both parties mourned Lumpkin’s passing. 

Gov. Rick Scott:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a relentless supporter of patients, nurses and the nursing profession in Florida. My wife, Ann, and I send our sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a champion for nursing and access to healthcare. While we mourn her loss, we also celebrate her life, her service, and her immense legacy.

“She defined what it means to care deeply for others, and to use her compassion to get things done through the legislative process. We are all grateful.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio:

“I am saddened by the loss of nursing champion Barbara Lumpkin. We are grateful for her service to our state, our nurses, and all those in need of compassionate care.”

Former Governor and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist:

“Barbara Lumpkin represented the best of the nursing and healthcare profession in our state. We will remember her for her decades of advocacy, selflessness, and service to our state. And we will honor her by serving others with the same compassion, kindness, and tenacity that made her so dearly loved.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush:

“Barbara Lumpkin was unmatched in her advocacy on behalf of nurses. She accomplished so much for so many, and her legacy will live on through the caring, hardworking nurses she loved so much.”

State Sen. Denise Grimsley:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to so many. She was a nurse at Highlands General Hospital in Sebring the year I was born, and led the Florida Nurses Association the year I was first elected.

“We worked together to pass the Nurse Prescribing Act that I renamed the Barbara Lumpkin Act, a proud moment for both of us. I will miss Barbara’s wisdom, her wit, and we take comfort in the inspiration and example of her life, so very well-lived.”  

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Charlie Crist raised $386K, sent $200K to DCCC in Q2

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced Thursday that he’d brought in another big haul for his re-election campaign in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

The former Governor will report raising $386,000 during the second quarter of 2018, bringing his overall fundraising for the 2018 cycle past the $3 million mark.

“It’s my privilege to serve and work hard to earn the support of the people of Pinellas County,” Crist said. “This election cycle is critical — every seat, call, donation, and volunteer will help us keep families together, lower healthcare costs, and keep our schools safe.”

The first term congressman said his campaign account also cut a $200,000 check to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last quarter. The committee is the fundraising arm supporting the Democratic Party’s goal of flipping the U.S. House.

Crist faces Republican George Buck, who has not yet announced his second-quarter tally. At the end of the first quarter, he had raised $13,100 and had just shy of $12,000 on hand. No other candidates are running for CD 13, which covers most of Pinellas County, save for its northernmost reaches.

Even if Buck gains some traction in fundraising, it’s lean shifted toward Democrats after it was redrawn by Florida courts ahead of the 2016 elections when Crist defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly by about four percentage points. The district also voted plus-3 for Hillary Clinton.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s Crystal Ball rates the district as “likely Democratic” in the fall.

Charles Canady moves back into Chief Justice role

Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady will start a two-year stint as chief justice Sunday, succeeding Jorge Labarga, who will remain on the court.

Canady, who served as chief justice from 2010 to 2012, was sworn in as chief justice during a small ceremony last week and will formally take over the role Sunday.

A former state lawmaker, congressman and appellate judge, Canady was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2008 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. The chief justice is elected by the other members of the Supreme Court.

“I look forward to continuing to serve the people and the judicial branch,” Canady said in a court Facebook post. “I have worked with so many outstanding Florida public servants for many years now, including my fellow Justices. I thank them for their trust in me and look forward to the work ahead.”

Labarga has served four years as chief justice.

The Keiser Bunch - Belinda Keiser

FMA slams ‘blue wave’ Belinda Keiser in new ad

A political committee tied to the Florida Medical Association released a new ad Wednesday hammering Belinda Keiser, who is running as a Republican in the special election for Senate District 25.

FMA is backing Stuart Republican Rep. Gayle Harrell in the SD 25 race, which is opening up this year due to the early exit of Senate President Joe Negron.

“The Keiser Bunch,” as the title hints, borrows heavily from the intro to Sherwood Schwartz’s famous 1970s sitcom to cast Keiser as a faux Republican, still in league with the Democrats she’s been donating to for decades.

Keiser takes center square in the Better Florida Fund Corp ad while Democrats Hillary Clinton, Charlie Crist, Bob Graham, Al Gore, Alcee Hastings, Buddy MacKay, Bill Nelson and Debbie Wasserman Shultz fill out the remainder of the grid.

Those eight Democrats got a spot in The Keiser Bunch because they’re among the better-known Democrats who have received campaign contributions from Keiser, but that list isn’t exhaustive.

“Here’s the story of Belinda Keiser moving from Parkland to run as a Republican for Senate. She’s donated thousands to Democrats like ‘crooked Hillary,’ Al Gore, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and not one dime to President [Donald] Trump. And she’s even run for office as a Democrat,” the ad narrator states.

The ad then pans over a spreadsheet showing dozens of donations Keiser made to Democratic politicians over the years. Federal candidates alone have received $141,667 from the Keiser University chancellor, add in state-level candidates and the Florida Democratic Party and that figure approaches nearly $200,000 without adding in the funds she used to boost her failed campaign as a Democrat for state House.

Those aren’t all old contribs, either — just six months ago she cut a $1,000 check to Plantation Sen. Lauren Book, and in July 2017 Crist, now a Congressman, received a $2,500 check.

“Blue wave Belinda has paid her dues to the left, but this Broward County Democrat won’t fool us. Vote no on ‘blue wave’ Belinda Keiser,” the ad concludes.

Keiser’s palatial Parkland home is 80 miles away from the southern border of SD 25, which covers all of St. Lucie and Martin counties, along with a small portion of Palm Beach County. Despite the long trek, she filed for the seat using the address of Keiser University’s St. Lucie campus shortly after Negron’s announcement.

Since then she’s attempted to paint herself as a loyal Trump supporter who has been a member of the Republican Party since the turn of the century, though a cursory search of her own statements shows she joined the GOP no earlier than 2007.

The ad is below.

#16 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Charlie Crist

It’s not often a freshman officeholder whose party is in the minority makes a most-powerful list. Although, politicians like U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist aren’t exactly common, either.

The former Florida governor already had star power to spare when he narrowly defeated Republican incumbent David Jolly in the 2016 race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District seat, which covers most of Pinellas County, save for its northernmost reaches.

The Republican-turned-NPA-turned-Democrat has had a busy year. He was a vocal critic of the GOP tax cut as well as his former party’s attempts to chip away at the Affordable Care Act — his criticisms got the attention of the National Republican Congressional Committee more than once.

Crist, 61, was a highly visible backer of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman in his uphill battle for re-election.

Whenever his constituents rally for stronger gun laws or a ban on offshore drilling, if he can be there, he will be. Crist is always at home speaking in front of a friendly crowd. That his presence behind the podium usually draws TV news cameras can’t be a bad thing for a cause, either.

He’s also got a knack for constituent service. Take freeFall Theatre in west St. Petersburg. After Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage to the roof of the performance space, Crist helped the theater company land a large Small Business Association loan to cover its repairs.

Although the tendency to try jump to higher office when it’s opportune has earned him criticism more than once, Crist doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. Rumors about a possible run for governor were DOA. last year. He started fundraising for re-election as soon as he took office, and with help from the likes of Nancy Pelosi, who recently headlined a fundraiser for him, Crist’s war chest now exceeds $2 million. And despite the two unknown Republicans currently duking it out in a primary for a chance to challenge Crist, CD 13 will more than likely stay blue.

Crist’s ranking fell somewhat this year; he was No. 13 on this list in 2017. That’s understandable, given the limitations of being a first-termer and a member of the underdog party.

Joe Henderson‘s take: “He has a sweet gig, but how until he gets bored with being only one of 435 members of the U.S. House?”

For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.

Steve Schale: Florida, persuasion or turnout, or both?

In the never-ending quest to simplify Florida, one of the ongoing debates about winning the state is whether Florida is a state won by winning persuadable voters, or whether it is all about turning out one’s base.

I remember when I started with Barack Obama, I got a ton of advice — most of it unsolicited (much was helpful), though a significant portion went something like this:

“Steve, nothing matters but I-4 … Steve, if you don’t maximize the Jewish vote, you can’t win … Steve, the field is dumb, it is an air war state … Steve, TV is dumb, it is a field war state … Steve, you have to do better with absentees … Steve, don’t waste money trying to convince Democrats to vote by mail … Steve, you have to watch your floor in North Florida, or you can’t win … Steve, you have to take Obama to Condo X, or you won’t win … Steve, you have to pay for bus benches in Miami, or you can’t win.”

You get the point.

Here is the secret — all of it matters. Florida is neither a persuasion state or a turnout state. It is, in my honest opinion, both. It doesn’t matter if it is a presidential cycle or a midterm year, Florida is a state about managing margins, everywhere.

Avid readers of my blog (thank you to all three of you) have read me refer to Florida as a self-correcting scale. The bases of both parties do a nice job of balancing — or canceling themselves out, almost regardless of population or demographic shifts.

Before we go any further — it is important to note that this phenomenon is almost exclusively a result of my party losing vote share among non-Hispanic whites. If we were winning non-Hispanic whites at a level anywhere near Obama 2008, based on the demographic shifts in Florida, we would be a leaning to likely Democratic state.

At the same time — if Florida wasn’t experiencing demographic changes — and the Republicans weren’t losing share among voters of color — particularly Hispanics, we would be a predictably Republican state. Functionally, if either party can broaden their own coalition, Florida quickly gets less competitive.

But these two factors have largely canceled each other out — hence the self-correcting scale.

Let’s review quickly how Democrats and Republicans win Florida.

Because I am a Democrat, let’s start there. Democrats earn their votes in a handful of counties, specifically: Leon, Gadsden, Alachua, Hillsborough, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade.

Winning Democratic candidates typically do a few other things: win Pinellas, win St. Lucie, win a few North Florida counties like Jefferson, maintain reasonable margins counties like in Duval, Sarasota, Volusia, and Seminole. They also maintain a reasonable floor in North Florida, suburban/exurban counties around I-4 and the Fort Myers media market.

For Republicans, their math is a little different — they win a lot more counties but by relatively smaller counties. Their win comes from winning in places like Pinellas and St. Lucie as well as running up the score in places like Duval, the suburban and exurban counties around I-4, and in southwest Florida.

I’ve written extensively about this dynamic in presidential cycles. You can read my primer on Florida here, or my 2016 debrief here and here, but in short, I would argue there was a lot of misreading of the Obama wins in Florida.

Yes, they were driven by significantly increasing the margins in the Democratic base counties over John Kerry and growing them in 2012. But here’s the thing — that alone wouldn’t have won the state. In both 08 and 12, Obama generally kept the margins in check in the GOP counties — and he won the few battleground counties that exist in Florida.

Take Obama 12 and Hillary Clinton 16 — both races decided by a roughly 1 percent margin. For all the chatter about a “less than enthusiastic” Democratic base, Clinton won the base Democratic counties by more than Obama did.

Her problem wasn’t turnout. Her problem was Trump winning the few battleground counties and setting records in both share of the vote and actual vote margins in those places where they must run up the score to win, and where we need to keep it in check.

I can read your mind — “That’s interesting Steve, but this is a midterm cycle, and you know it is different.”

Yes, it is — and no it isn’t.

Yes, it’s different because the electorate is smaller, and at least in the last two cycles, been more Republican (a fact impacted by two consecutive midterm waves for the GOP), which was a change from 06, where turnout marginally leaned Democratic (and Dems won 2 statewide races).

But there are a lot of similarities between the presidential and midterm cycles. Both Republicans and Democrats still need to carry their margins in the same counties as they do in presidential cycles. While the vote totals are different in individual regions and counties are different, the functional roadmaps for winning isn’t.

Rick Scott won two elections by a point. However, the shape of those wins was quite different, and in those differences lies the path to how the Democrats can win in 2018.

In 2010, the Democratic struggles were a creature of three real problems: Hispanic drop-off from 2008, lower participation among white Democrats particularly in Central Florida, and a wave of GOP and GOP-leaning NPA voters who saw voting for the GOP as a way to send a message to President Obama.

From a math standpoint, this led to lower than necessary margins in South and Central Florida base counties. But here is the thing, Scott ran up some very large margins in parts of the state, Alex Sink kept him in check in many others. In fact, she kept him in check by more than enough in many GOP counties to have a winning coalition if the Democratic counties had performed well. But they didn’t.

The lesson of Sink: Florida isn’t alone a persuasion state.

Charlie Crist’s math in 2014 was quite different. Crist ran on a far more progressive platform than Sink, with a fairly robust turnout operation — certainly not the size of Obama, but the largest in midterm cycle history for Florida Democrats, and as a result succeeded to run up the score in the base Democratic counties, winning the three South Florida counties by almost 100,000 more votes than Sink. He also did well enough in the “Crist counties” — the stretch from Pasco through Sarasota, where his brand is most established, winning those counties by almost 2.5 percent, where Sink lost them by a half of a point.

But the floor fell out for him in North Florida. Despite North Florida shrinking as a percentage of the electorate from 2010 (20 percent) to 2014 (19 percent), Crist lost the region by 8 percent more than Sink did, netting Scott’s margin roughly 107,000 more votes, more than wiping out the gains Crist made in the base Democratic counties (97,000 votes).

One other way of looking at it, Crist won the base Democratic counties by 92,000 more votes than Sink did. He lost everything else by 95,000 more votes than Sink. The lesson of Crist, as was also the lesson of Clinton: Florida isn’t alone a turnout state.

If Clinton has her margins in the base counties, plus Obama’s elsewhere, she wins by a point or two.

If Sink had her math, plus Crist’s margins in the base counties, he wins by about a point. If Crist has his margins, plus Sink’s margins only in North Florida, he wins by almost a point.

2018 will be different yet.

The Democratic nominee will benefit from an electorate that is more diverse, meaning the base county margins should rise, and I think there is a lot of room for growth in the Orlando urban core. However, at the same time, they will be unlikely to be able to count on some the margins Crist won in his corner of the state and will have to contend with areas where the GOP population is growing.

The questions aren’t as simple as how do we turnout more voters, but also have to include questions like how do we keep Duval looking more like it did for Obama, Clinton, and Sink than it did for Scott in 14 or Rubio?

For Republicans, they must deal with the fact demographics are changing in a way that helps the Democrats, and that 2018, unlike 2010 and 2014, will almost surely not be a very good Republican year, as we’ve seen in each of the competitive special and off-cycle elections this year.

I believe that in Scott/Nelson, as well as in the Governor’s race, Florida starts this year somewhere around 47-47 — maybe even 48-48, and we will be fighting over the path to that remaining 150,000 votes or so that a winning candidate will need.

Some of those votes are found by increasing turnout, others won and lost in the persuasion fight. The candidate who wins in 2018 won’t find those votes by getting just one of those things right, they will succeed in building the right answer to a puzzle.

That is just how Florida works these days.

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist joins effort to block newspaper tariffs

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has signed on to bipartisan bill that would send the Trump Administration’s new tariffs on newsprint into the shredder.

In a Friday statement Crist made clear that he wasn’t lining up behind the PRINT Act simply to take a jab at the White House, but because the tariff is already costing jobs within his Pinellas County district.

“An unnecessary trade war with some of our closest partners is already having real, negative consequences for our economy and the newspaper industry in particular. The Tampa Bay Times recently announced 50 employees would be laid off due to new tariffs — shrinking newsrooms at a time when thoughtful, credible reporting is needed most,” said Crist. “Newspapers are an integral part of our communities, employing our neighbors and keeping us informed. It’s encouraging to see bipartisan and bicameral support for protecting local news.”

The Tampa Bay Times said the tariff would cause the price they pay for Canadian sourced newsprint to jump by a third. That would cost the paper, and by extension their readers, more than $3 million a year.

That bipartisan support includes the bill’s principal sponsor, South Dakota Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, and another 10 Republican representatives.

Sean Shaw

Florida Young Dems endorse Sean Shaw, Jeremy Ring, 11 congressional candidates

Sean Shaw and Jeremy Ring have gotten the backing of the Florida Young Democrats in their quests for the Florida attorney general and chief financial officer posts, as have 11 candidates in their congressional races.

The YoungDems did not endorse in the governor’s race, the agriculture commissioner’s race, or 16 other congressional races, including several in which incumbent Democrats are seeking re-election, notably U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Al Lawson, and Stephanie Murphy.

Shaw, the state representative from Tampa, faces attorney Ryan Torrens in the August 28 Democratic primary. The winner would face one of several possible Republican nominees, state Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville, state Rep. Frank White of Pensacola, and former Circuit Judge Ashley Moody of Tampa.

Ring, the former state senator, is unopposed among Democrats heading toward a November showdown with incumbent Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

The Florida Young Democrats’ board recommends endorsements, and the candidates were voted on at the annual young Democrats convention, May 18-20 in Miami, by the organization membership.

The organization said it did not endorse if there were two or more Democrats and the vote was close and the candidates were all considered strong progressives, or if the candidates did not meet the organization’s vision on issues. The organization’s bylaws require two-thirds vote backings from both the executive board and the voting membership.

The congressional endorsements went to former U.S. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg in Florida’s 6th Congressional District; Sanjay Patel in Florida’s 8th Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Darren Soto in Florida’s 9th Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Val Demings in Florida’s 10th Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District; Andrew Learned in Florida’s 15th Congressional District; David Shapiro in Florida’s 16th Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson in Florida’s 24th Congressional District; Mary Barzee Flores in Florida’s 25th Congressional District; and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

“Our priorities in races were trying to support young people and trying to support candidates who had messages that support young people,” said Florida Young Dems President Jake Sanders.

“We’re endorsing our own; that means we’re endorsing some young people against people who are favorites,” he added. “We want to make sure that people who speak to youth issues get recognized for it.”

In the governor’s race, which features two Young Dems, Chris King and Andrew Gillum, along with Philip Levine, Gwen Graham and newly-filed candidate Jeff Greene, “We have people on our executive board for every single candidate,” Sanders said, adding, “Except no one for Jeff Greene.”

In one race – Florida’s 18th Congressional District – the Florida Young Dems decided not to endorse because Sanders has been involved in the campaign of Lauren Baer, who faces Pam Keith in the primary.

Personnel note: Eileen Stuart departs Mosaic Co. for Hopping Green & Sams

Big news in the influence industry: After almost 10 years leading fertilizer giant Mosaic’s lobbying efforts in Tallahassee and Washington, Eileen Stuart is moving on to a new role.

She’s joining the Tallahassee law firm of Hopping Green & Sams (HGS) in June to helm its government affairs practice.

Stuart will be a shareholder of the firm, though her practice will center largely on state and federal government and regulatory affairs.

“Her expertise in environmental, energy, permitting and tax issues will complement HGS’ deep roster of professionals,” a news release said.

The firm “is a powerful combination of the state’s top environmental and land development lawyers, along with a robust and loyal client base,” Stuart said in a statement.

“HGS’ widely recognized expertise and reputation provide an unparalleled platform, and I am excited to work alongside the exceptional team there to help our clients achieve their objectives.”

Added HGS shareholder Gary Hunter: “We are thrilled to welcome Eileen to the firm. Having worked closely with her over the last decade, we appreciate firsthand Eileen’s substantial talents.”

“Her deep relationships, substantive command and understanding of the key levers in state and federal government will greatly enhance our growing presence in the Florida government affairs arena. Most important, our clients will benefit from her expertise.”

Stuart, a known and respected name in Tallahassee, most recently served as Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs for The Mosaic Company, directing the Fortune 500’s state and federal government affairs strategy and engagement in the state and national capitals.

Before that, she was Vice President for Public Affairs and led the company’s strategic communications and community engagement. She will continue to represent Mosaic in Tallahassee and serve as a key voice and face for the company.

Prior to joining Mosaic, she worked in the Executive Office of the Governor under Gov. Charlie Crist where she served as Deputy Policy Director.

She also has worked at the Florida Senate and the Public Service Commission. Stuart received an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and a law degree from the Florida State University College of Law. She and her husband live in Tallahassee with their two sons. 

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