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Chris King hires Ben Friedman to handle public affairs

Friedman will add political advisory to King’s staff.

Former Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Chris King has added Ben Friedman to his staff to handle public affairs matters including King’s political portfolio.

Friedman, a lawyer who formerly served as director of community relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, will manage the public affairs agenda on behalf of both King’s company, Elevation Financial Group, and its affiliated Elevation Scholars program, and serve as an adviser and political director for King’s ongoing public engagement and issue advocacy.

After a disappointing performance in his run for governor in the 2018 Democratic primary, King, a Winter Park businessman and philanthropist, became running mate to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum. They lost one of the closest elections in state history.

This winter, King reemerged in overt political activity with an endorsement last week for Dolores Guzman in the House District 27 contest and with the expected announcement Tuesday of an endorsement for Rene Flowers for the District 7 Pinellas County Commission seat.

Friedman said King intends to speak out frequently and broadly during the run-up to the 2020 elections on one of the topics he ran on, the role of faith in American politics.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Elevation team and ecstatic to be working with Chris to propose and advocate for much-needed solutions to the societal and structure problems holding back our state and country,” Friedman said.

At the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Friedman implemented an agenda including government affairs, political advocacy, and public relations on behalf of the 40,000 members of the Jewish community of Orlando and Central Florida. Previously, he worked on congressional investigations in both the U.S. House and Senate, and served as a law clerk at the Federal Communications Commission. Later, Friedman assisted clients with political strategy and government relations at the Washington, D.C., office of The Raben Group, a national public affairs firm.

In addition to his professional roles, Friedman has served in volunteer leadership positions, including as a current member of the City of Orlando’s Multicultural Affairs Committee and the Central Florida Commission on Religious Freedom. He previously served as a member of the state board of directors for the League of Women Voters of Florida, the statewide steering committee of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and the Editorial Advisory Board for the Orlando Sentinel. He also has been a frequent contributing writer to the newspaper’s op-ed pages.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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