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In memoriam: “4th Floor Files” talks to Bob Levy about his hands-on approach and the repeal of the Services Tax

This installment of the “4th Floor Files” features Bob Levy. His clients include the City of Miami Beach, Community Newspapers, Inc., and Florida Nurses Association. Here’s the file on Bob:

Significant other? Children? Grand kids?

Never married

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

We have two businesses.  Since we started in the campaign business, we continue to do only judicial campaigns, and the campaigns of constitutional officers in Miami Dade.  We proudly represent our clerk, our state attorney, our public defender.

In our Tallahassee end of the business, we consider ourselves a very hands on firm.  Our ads when we do them for journals, etc. read “We cover Tallahassee in ways no one else ever thought of” and I’d still like to believe that’s the case after 35 years.

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

Our political persuasion is that in our position, we have no political persuasion.  We support candidates on both sides of the aisle and try to not get bogged down in the politics of the process.

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

We pride ourselves on pro bono service – but my favorite is PATCH’s – a prescribed pediatric assistance center where they take care of severely ill children.  I am proud that many of my clients have rallied to support this project – th–se pediatric nurses really do God’s work on earth.  They have the souls of angels.

We also favor FARM SHARE – a wonderful project that feeds so many in need.

Three favorite charities.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters – Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC), and United Cerebral Palsy Association (UCP)

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

Yes – drink lots of Ketel One and celebrate victories and prepare for the immediate revival of failed efforts.  Also we try to have our client reports done before they even know Session is over – with the good, the bad and the ugly.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2013 Legislative Session.

Sine Die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I think the world of Will Weatherford and have been looking forward for years to the day when he took the mantle of the House – I think he’ll be as great a speaker as his father in law Allan Bense was.  I think the Senate has already shown an entirely new disposition under the leadership of President Gaetz and I very much like the style he has shown thus far in his term.  And of course we’re looking forward to passing all our Bills and getting all our appropriations.

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

I wouldn’t trade our client list for anyone’s – truthfully – because of the nature of our work and hands on nature – our clients become our friends and we work as closely as possible with them to achieve their goals – I’m very happy with those who have entrusted their fate in the process with our firm

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

The 1987 repeal of the Services Tax – it’s  a fading memory for many – but I took six months of my life to co-chair the Sales Taxes Oppressing People campaign – STOP – and in that period succeeded in something not many people achieve in the process – then and definitely not now.  We got the legislature to stop and listen to the people and reverse their policy – and it only took six months.

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

I don’t wear Gucci – sorry – I wear Florsheim’s with rubber soles to enable me to stand all day and get around the Capitol like a 20 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I buy most of my clothes on line and wait for sales –

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

Oh – I LIKE THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have kind of grown up politically with Steve Bousquet from his days with the Miami Herald to his time with the St Pete Times – and now due to the merger he’s back with the HERALD in a shared position – I also am sad to see Lucy Morgan retiring (she says for good this time) and Bill Cotterell to me has always been fair and honest.

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…

I am an early riser and Sunburn is always there as the first blog I read – but I also read Capital Soup, Drudge, Daily Kos, Huffington Report, and on a weekly basis about 30 or more local, state and Federal blogs.  I like Eye on Miami – I like Political Cortadito.

What swear word do you use most often?

In private – damn.  In public – Kwap.

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? Give us the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible.

I have a leather jacket that comes in handy during days like today in Tally – 30 degrees when I left my condo – it has wolves across the back and a wolf logo on the front – note my e mail levywolf.

It came from National Wildlife Foundation so not only do you get to buy great stuff – but it benefits their efforts to preserve our wildlife

The best hotel in Florida is…

Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando – bar none – and speaking of bars – their bar is spectacular – especially when Ivy is working at it.

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?

Marco Rubio, Will Weatherford, Don Gaetz, Chris Smith

Homeland, Mad Men, The Walking Dead … which one do you watch, which one do you DVR and which one do you skip?

I don’t watch TV or DVR – other than social time with friends or travel, when I finish working at night I am ready for bed and my mornings come very early.

Favorite movie.

Loved all the Godfather movies – No Way Out with Kevin Costner –

Before the ‘gift ban’, what was your favorite restaurant in Tallahassee? What is your favorite today?

This one is simple – Silver Slipper – loved that place and the Kalfas family.  Today – Georgio, Little Italy, Marie Livingston’s and Azu.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

Fried chicken – at Clyde’s whenever they decide to start it up again

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

I think in contemporary time John F. Kennedy – historically Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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