Fourth of July Weekend is brought to you by these lobbyists and political organizations

july fourth
Here’s a look at the Fourth of July in Lobbying.

It doesn’t get much more American than the Fourth of July. After all, the holiday commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It has been 246 years since the founding fathers undertook great personal risk to declare their independence and created this democratic republic out of their blood, sweat, and philosophical determination.

There were no “registered lobbyists” in the 18th century but the things that we associate with Independence Day today are all “lobbied” items.

Here’s a look at the “Fourth of July in Lobbying.”

According to AAA — The Auto Club Group, nearly 48 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. Those still a couple points off the pre-pandemic record set in 2019, the 2022 estimate represents a 3.7% increase from last year. AAA also estimates that about 2.6 million Floridians will take a trip during the holiday weekend, with more than 2.3 million traveling by car despite rising fuel costs.

To the surprise of few, Orlando took the top spot on The Auto Club Group’s list of most popular vacation destinations. Fort Lauderdale also got a shoutout, placing No. 6.

With so many people traveling to and around Florida, there’s little doubt some will need to call AAA. But AAA needs assistance sometimes, too. When they do, they turn to the in-house lobbyists Karen Morgan and Heather Drake as well as contract lobbyists Paul MitchellClark Smith and Monte Stevens of The Southern Group.

Florida’s roads will be getting a solid workout, but so will its airports — the rest of those travelers won’t be walking, after all.

Those traveling into MIA, are likely to be flying with American Airlines. By many measures — fleet size, passengers carried, and revenue passenger miles — the company ranks as the largest airline in the world. It relies on Jeff JohnstonAmanda Stewart and Anita Berry to bring its priorities in for a landing in the capital.

If any airline has the chops to challenge American, it’s Delta. The company ranks No. 1 in most financial metrics, including overall revenue, profits, assets and market cap. And while its closest hub is in Atlanta, it still sends plenty of traffic to Florida. Its jump crew includes Nick IarossiRon LaFaceMaicel GreenAndrew KetchelJared Rosenstein, and Chris Schoonover of Capital City Consulting.

The holiday is also expected to be a boon for retailers, with fireworks and BBQ supplies expected to fly off the shelves. And chances are, a few of the items on your shopping list are tax-free during “Freedom Week.” The sales tax holiday covers all kinds of camping and recreational equipment, as well as sunglasses and pool supplies.

The Florida Retail Federation is a big fan of the holiday, which was first introduced last year. Their lobbying team includes Angela Bonds and French Brown of Dean Mead as well as Jon Johnson, Travis Blanon, and Darrick McGhee of Johnson & Blanton.

Luckily, most unprepared food is already tax free in Florida. And the best place to grab some grub, sauce and things that go boom — and by that we mean fireworks, not propane tanks or lighter fluid — is Publix.

When it comes to paying attention to politics and public policy, the grocery store chain looks to Matt BryanJeff Hartley and Teye Carmichael of Smith Bryan & Myers as well as in-house advocate Thomas Culligan.

If you do choose to buy your own arsenal of fireworks, put safety first. Firefighters love Independence Day as much as everyone else, and shoddy pyrotechnics ruin their fun. While they’ll inevitably get some calls over the weekend, they thankfully won’t have to worry about politics or policy.

On those matters, the Florida Professional Firefighters lean on the in-house team of Wayne Bernoska, George Marsh, Rocco Salvatori, and Meridith Stanfield as well as contract lobbyist Screven Watson of Screven Watson & Associates.

Florida is also home to some companies that produce “rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” that are far beyond consumer grade — and they have lobbyists.

For the former, look no further than Taylor Biehl and Jeff Sharkey of Capitol Alliance Group. The duo represent SpaceX.

For the latter, there’s Lockheed Martin, which has a massive presence in Central Florida. The defense company is loaded for bear with Michael HueyTy JacksonGeorge Levesque and Jessica Love of GrayRobinson who work alongside in-house lobbyist Joseph Mayer.

If you don’t plan to cook, there are plenty of restaurants clamoring for your business. More than 10,000 of them — and the 1.4 million Floridians they employ — are represented by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, the state’s premier hospitality industry trade group.

While patrons are waiting on their plates to come out of the kitchen, FRLA’s extensive Tallahassee team will be hard at work advancing the trade association’s issues du jour.

Working on FRLA’s behalf in the Capitol are Jim DaughtonWarren HusbandDoug Bell, Leslie DughiAlli Liby-Schoonover, Aimee LyonAndy Palmer, and Karl Rasmussen of Metz Husband & Daughton.

For a lot of Americans, a festive Fourth means imbibing — just make sure whoever is holding the lighter hasn’t been making frequent trips to the cooler.

Florida’s beer and spirit industry is a big one. From renowned craft breweries such as Cigar City, to distilleries such St. Augustine Distillery. Macro brew operations have a major footprint in the Sunshine State, too.

For its lobbying needs, the Beer Industry of Florida has The Southern Group on tap. Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli also reps the industry association. St. Petersburg Distillery, meanwhile, has retained Michael CorcoranJacqueline CorcoranMatt Blair and Will Rodriguez of Corcoran Partners.

Of course, if “drinkability” is your priority then Anheuser-Busch probably brews something to your liking. It’s one of the biggest alcohol companies in the world and it has a lobbying team to match.

On board are Jorge ChamizoCharles Dudley and Cory Guzzo of Floridian Partners; Al CardenasSlater BaylissChris ChaneySarah SuskeyJeff Woodburn and Stephen Shiver of The Advocacy Group; French Brown of Dean Meadand Frank MayernickTracy Mayernick and Rob Johnson of The Mayernick Group.

If you chose to have a drink or three, leave the driving to Uber.

The ride-hailing company has an extensive lobbying corps, with dozens of advocates helping them out in the Capitol complex — firms in their corner include Colodny Fass, The Fiorentino Group, Floridian Partners, GrayRobinson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, Pittman Law Group and RSA Consulting Group.

However you celebrate in the Sunshine State, the holiday is good reminder that the nation has made it through many tough periods and will make it through whatever challenge comes next.

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.


One comment

  • YYep

    July 3, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    Here’s a challenge it took how many years to destroy the planet with what arousal and warming. And admissions.

Comments are closed.


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