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4th Floor Files talks with Mario Bailey about government, Ronald Reagan, and mentoring

The latest chapter of “4th Floor Files” talks with Mario Bailey, a lobbyist with the Becker & Poliakoff firm. Bailey represents clients from a variety of sectors including government — he has six south Florida governments including Cape Coral, Hollywood, and Lauderdale Lakes; education — Bethune Cookman, Florida Memorial University, and Miami-Dade Schools; and businesses — the Florida Independent Spirits Association, The Safety-Net Hospital Alliance, and American Traffic Solutions.

Prior to joining Becker & Poliakoff, Bailey was the chief legislative aide to then-Rep. Dwight Bullard.

Here’s the file on Mario Bailey.

Significant other? Children? Grandkids?

I am young and single and live in Miami. I am close with my nieces and nephews, who live mostly in Alabama. I have had the opportunity to bring three of my nieces to Tallahassee from Alabama to serve as House Pages. Hopefully, my younger nieces will keep the tradition alive when they’re old enough to participate in the program.

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In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

As an advocate for clients, I’m a translator. I translate the legislative process and political climate to clients and translate their priorities to legislators and staff. 

Without using the words Democrat, Independent or Republican, conservative or liberal, describe your political persuasion.

I was born and raised in Alabama and have spent most of my adult life in South Florida. “Complicated” would probably be a Facebook status to describe my political beliefs. 

I believe government should provide basic services while protecting the rights and freedoms of others. I also believe in the freedom of choice, as long as those decisions do not harm others. Lastly, I do not believe government should create results. It should foster fair competition and opportunities.

If you have one, what is your motto?

I have two: “It can be done.” — President Reagan, and “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi.

During your career, have you had a favorite pro bono client?

uAspire is my favorite pro-bono client to date. Their mission is to ensure that all young people have the financial information and resources necessary to find an affordable path to — and through — a post-secondary education. They partner with high schools, community organizations, and colleges to provide college affordability advice to young people and their families. I wish I had interacted with the organization prior to college.

Three favorite charities.

Too many to list just three. 

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

I have no special traditions except getting as close to the hanky as possible.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2015 Legislative Session?

The budget! Conference weekends are like Christmas to me — the back and forth, the late nights, the dash for packets, and seeing your items closed out is all magical to me.

I am also looking forward to seeing what will happen for people with unique abilities. The work this session will positively impact families for generations to come.

If you could have another lobbyist’s client list, it would be…

Probably Disney — who doesn’t love Disney?  Does that contract come with perks? 🙂

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Passing bills that positively impact the lives of others always gives me a great since of accomplishment. Prior to 2014, the parasailing industry was unregulated. A family, who lost their daughter, visited Tallahassee for years attempting to add common-sense measures to improve safety for tourists and residents that take part in the activity. With leadership of Sen. Sachs and Rep Clarke-Reed, we were able to bring the industry together and provide a some comfort to a grieving family by making sure similar accidents would not occur again in Florida

Lobbyists are often accused of wearing Gucci loafers; do you own a pair of Gucci loafers? If not, why not?

No, they’re not in my 5-year plan.

Who is your favorite Florida Capitol Press Corps reporter and why?

Kathleen McGrory and Tia Mitchell.

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…

The News Service of Florida, Naked Politics, the Fort Report, Tampa Bay Times, Above the Fold, LobbyTools, the CSMonitor, USA Today, Yahoo News

What swear word do you use most often?

Shit. I mostly use it when working out. As you can see by my build, I don’t use the word  too often.

What is your most treasured possession?

My iPhone is my greatest possession. It wakes me up in the morning, it keeps me connected with family and friends, I’m able to work from it, it places the news at my fingertips, it allows me to listen to the Bible while falling asleep, and it streams Pandora. What more can you ask for?

You’ve just learned that you will be hosting a morning talk show about Florida politics. Who are the first four guests you’d invite to appear?

Sen. Bradley, Sen. Bullard, Rep. Stafford, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz would be my four unless I could get the unfiltered Rep. Goodson.

Favorite movie.

Selma.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

Soul food.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure no longer living, who would it be?

Benjamin Franklin.

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