There are a lot of lobbyists who probably think they’re winning right now, and a lot of them are right.
The state budget is shooting up to the $100 billion mark only a few months after it was expected to be a few billion lighter than last year.
The Legislature was also quite generous with its sprinkle lists — lawmakers peppered more than $350 million on local projects in a Session where many approps lobbyists spent months telling their clients to temper their expectations.
And the 2021 Legislative Session was also remarkably smooth. It’s on track to end on time, and while some lobbyists will need to cancel their vacation plans, it’s only because the biggest gaming deal in a decade is teed up for passage and every sports betting app in existence is showing up in their lobby with bags of cash.
All in all, it could have gone a lot worse.
There is one firm, however, that deserves a little shout-out — and maybe some well wishes — for how they handled what for them was the most difficult 60-day stretch in history.
Anfield Consulting is a somewhat quiet firm. Though they deliver for their clients more often than not, they rarely toot their own horn.
So, I’m going to do that for them.
(I also want to be clear: Anfield Consulting is not an advertiser on FloridaPolitics.com or in any of our other products.)
Some of you might not know that Anfield co-founder Frank Bernardino was broadsided on his way to work last month after a driver ran a red light on Thomasville and Armistead. It wasn’t a simple fender bender — he broke his shoulder blade and a half dozen ribs and spent nearly two weeks laid up in the hospital. He’s still homebound, though there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It doesn’t stop there.
One week after Bernardino’s life flashed before his eyes, COVID-19 sidelined fellow co-founder Albert Balido and two other partners at the firm. Though it was grueling, a self-quarantine sufficed for Balido and Natalie Fausel. Edgar Fernandez wasn’t as lucky — he spent nearly a week in the hospital fighting severe COVID-19.
I’m not sharing all of this to make the rest of the Tallahassee lobbying corps feel bad about their own successes, or to make them take pity on the Anfield crew. Quite the opposite.
I’m sharing it because it makes their accomplishments this year even more impressive.
Despite being given a dozen excuses that would completely justify a subpar Legislative Session, the team was able to land $48 million for the C-51 Canal, a priority for the better part of a decade.
They also snagged $20 million for Monroe County’s Keys Legacy Program and $7 million for the Heartland Headwaters in Polk. And their effort was capped off with more sprinkles than you’ll find at a Dunkin Donuts, all of them between $500,000 and $1.5 million.
They deserve a pat on the back.
Except for Frank, of course. He’ll need a little longer before he can handle that, so a head nod and a “get well soon” text will have to do for now.