Thanksgiving 2016, as brought to you by these Florida lobbyists and political organizations

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It’s time to talk turkey. And stuffing, pie and football.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the winter holiday season; the first stop in a month of non-stop holiday parties and celebrations. It’s also a day for Americans to reflect on what they’re grateful for, something that is especially important in these tense times.

But it’s also a day to gorge yourself on goodies, sneak a snack in between meals, and loosen your belts while watching the big game. And you can’t enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without a stop at the supermarket.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual price survey, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people is $49.87. That’s a 24-cent decrease from the 2015 average of $50.11.

The survey found a 16-pound turkey will cost $22.74, or about $1.42 per pound. That’s a two-cent-per-pound decrease from 2015. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates consumers will pay about 30 cents less per whole turkey this year compared to last year.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner? You probably made a trip to Publix this week to pick up the essentials. Shopping is a pleasure there, with employees itching to help customers make their meal perfect. When the grocery store giant needs a hand in the Florida Legislature, it turns to Jorge Chamizo, Thomas Culligan, Charles Dudley, Lindsey Napier, and Teye Reeves.

But don’t even think about running to your neighborhood Publix to pick up whipped cream for your pumpkin pie. The store is closed on Thanksgiving so staffers “can share the day family and friends.”

Don’t cook? Don’t worry. With more than 85 million tourists flocking to the Sunshine State so far this year, there’s plenty of restaurants to choose from if your family’s tradition is dinner out.

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association aims to “protect, educate and promote,” the state’s $82 billion hospitality industry. And the association has a team of A-list lobbyists, including Jim Daughton, Warren Husband, as well as Aimee Diaz Lyon, Andy Palmer, and Alli Liby-Schoonover on its side when it needs help pushing the industry’s priorities in the Florida Legislature.

While the holiday is chance to give thanks and reflect on the previous year, it’s also the start of the holiday season. And for many people, Thanksgiving and shopping go hand-in-hand.

For some, Thanksgiving morning isn’t complete without a cup of coffee and newspaper. The Florida Press Association is working to protect the freedom of the press in the Sunshine State. When the association needs a hand fighting for its rights in the Legislature, it turns to Kimberly Case, Samuel Morely, Dean Ridings, Steven Uhlfelder, and Karen Walker.

Many Floridians aren’t just turning to their local newspaper for the news of the day, though. Instead, they’re on the hunt for deals and plotting their Black Friday plan of attack.

The National Retail Federation estimates 137.4 million Americans are planning to or considering shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend. The survey found that 74 percent of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday, while 21 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving.

“Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions over the entire holiday weekend,” said Matthew Shay, the president and CEO of the organization, in a statement.

Looking for a good deal? Wal-Mart — represented by The Mayernick Group, The Rubin Group, Pittman Law Group, and Corcoran & Johnston — might be a good place to start. After you battle the crowds there, a trip to Target — which turns to GaryRobinson when it needs help in the Florida Legislature —  might be in order.

The Florida Retail Federation is looking out for retailers big and small throughout the state. When the in-house team of Randy Miller, James Miller, Samantha Hunter Padgett and Melissa Joiner Ramba need an assist, they look to Travis Blanton, Jon Johnson and Darrick McGhee at Johnson & Blanton.

While stores across the state will be slammed this weekend, hundreds of thousands of Floridians will do all their shopping without leaving the comfort of their couch. According to the National Retail Federation survey, 36 percent of consumers said they planned to shop online on Cyber Monday.

That probably means a lot of Floridians will be clicking their way over to, picking up everything from books and dog toys to records and gift cards. The online shopping behemoth is expanding its footprint in Florida, recently submitting plans for a second Jacksonville fulfillment center.

When the digital marketplace needs some help navigating through the Legislature, it turns to Brian Ballard, Carol Bracy and Matthew Forrest.

If you’re looking to make a difference for the less fortunate this holiday season, consider helping out at your local food bank. The Florida Association of Food Banks, now called Feeding Florida, is a statewide network bringing together 14-member food banks across the state to try to reduce hunger. The association has teams at Johnson & Blanton and Larry Williams Consulting backing it up when it needs a helping hand.

And as you consider other ways to help Floridians in need this holiday season, use the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ “Check-A-Charity” tool to get detailed information about the organization you want to give to this year.


Peter Schorsch

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.


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.

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