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Meet Elizabeth Ray — One of the 30-under-30 rising stars of Florida Politics

RayIt’s hard to walk around Tallahassee without running into someone connected to Elizabeth Ray.

Her brothers Chris and Kevin Cate are veteran PR folks who’ve worked on both sides of the political aisle. And her husband Whitney Ray was a TV reporter who now works for Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Ray was also a TV reporter, but transitioned to the world of political PR when she went to work for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Here’s Ray in her own words.

I am (age) … 29

I live in … Florida’s Capital City.

I got into politics because … of debates at the family dinner table. To keep up, I listened, learned and developed a love of politics. That hunger to be involved pushed my desire to become an advocate. As a kid, I also watched my dad interview U.S. Presidents, hold Governors accountable and ask local leaders tough policy questions, which ultimately fueled my initial ambition to become a “watchdog reporter” for the community.

One principle I always put above politics is … honesty. Tell the truth, and tell it fast.

Person or people who gave me my first shot … my first news director, Tom Krynski, allowed me an opportunity to host and produce a political radio show in Gainesville as I pursued dual degrees in Political Science and Telecommunication-News at the University of Florida. He assigned me to all night city commission meetings, local campaigns, and a presidential election, giving me my first real taste of politics.

I’ve already worked for/on (campaign, issues, etc.) … as a journalist, I covered presidential elections, the BP oil spill, severe storms and local government/campaigns in Jacksonville, Panama City and Gainesville. I am particularly proud of a series of stories I pursued, that with the attention of a local Jacksonville City Commissioner, altered commercial zoning requirements for overlooked communities that were previously forced to live in dangerous conditions. Working for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, I’ve advocated for the statewide hospitality and tourism industry, by engaging in issues including the communications services tax, paid leave, the business rent tax, restaurant grading, anti-discrimination laws, and funding for hospitality education programs.

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for … strong leadership.

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors … first and foremost, my incredible parents, Keith and Paula Cate, who always encourage me to think outside the box, ask questions and dream big. My husband, Whitney Ray, the love of my life, best friend and constant adviser. My older brothers, Kevin and Chris Cate, who are actively engaged in the political process and always available to give me advice or tough love. A huge influence in my career, FRLA President and CEO, Carol Dover, is a true inspiration, amazing boss and a woman of integrity. On 3 PR’s Christina Johnson, who is the consummate professional, a fantastic teacher, and a true friend.

The people I most admire in politics are … the men and women who work honestly and tirelessly to ensure that all citizens have an opportunity to succeed, are protected from harm and can pursue their dreams.

One lesson I’ve already learned is … to be resilient, confident and true to your convictions.

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be … a race car driver. I might be a bit behind the curve, but can certainly still school my husband in Mario Kart. On a more serious note, volunteering with the Junior League of Tallahassee has given me an appreciation for mentoring wonderful kids in our community. If I weren’t in politics, I would probably be working for a nonprofit that is focused on ensuring educational opportunities for our next generation.

In 10 years, you’ll read about me … in the fantastic publication, INFLUENCE Magazine, and hopefully raising a few Ray babies in my spare time.

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.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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