The 12 Days of Christmas are brought to you by these Florida lobbyists and political organizations
‘Tis the season.
After a year with three Special Sessions, redistricting drama and a full slate of statewide elections, it’s finally time to kick back, spend time with family and catch your breath before what’s likely to be another monster year for those in The Process.
Traditionally, Florida Politics has leaned on the 12 Days of Christmas for its annual list of the lobbying pros who help their fellow Floridians get in the holiday spirit, but does anyone really want to take in 184 birds and entertain 140 strangers during their R&R time?
Instead, we’ll use our favorite Christmas movies — some traditional, some not-so-traditional. We’ve done our best to make sure there’s something for everyone on here, no matter their taste in films. Without further ado, let’s get this sleigh … Rolling? Sliding? Flying? Whatever, here’s the list:
‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’
This one is errs on the traditional side, but it’s a family-friendly option. The Grinch is possibly Dr. Seuss’ most famous character, and his story is a powerful example of how Christmas spirit can soften a heart even if it’s a few sizes too small.
If you happen to be in the Orlando area for the holiday season, you can get the full Grinch experience at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Grinchmas, which runs through Jan. 1, promises “warm fuzzies with a side of sarcasm” and features a full Christmas makeover for the Seuss Landing section of the park.
Universal’s lobbying team includes Brett Bacot, Mike Grissom, Jim Magill, and Kimberly McGlynn of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney; Will McKinley, Angela Dempsey, Fred Dickinson, Erik Kirk and Sophie Smith of PooleMcKinley; and Missy Timmins of Timmins Consulting.
If you want that warm and fuzzy feeling but prefer to watch something that’s a hard R, this is the film for you. Billy Bob Thornton plays the title character — a burgling mall Santa deep in the throes of alcoholism. He’s eventually inspired to change his ways after meeting (and moving in with) a neglected and painfully average child who has the best name in cinematic history: Thurman Merman.
Child endangerment is played for laughs to great effect, but it’s not so funny when it happens off-camera. Luckily, there are many organizations in Florida that look out for the most vulnerable among us. One of the better known is Florida’s Children First, which goes to bat for children don’t have parents who take care of their needs or protect their rights.
Florida’s Children First is represented by Michael Corcoran, Jacqueline Corcoran, Matt Blair, Bethany McAlister and Andrea Tovar of Corcoran Partners.
John Hughes was a hit factory, and “Home Alone” is one of his best. Sure the plot is fairly basic home invasion fare, but Macaulay Culkin sells it and Joe Pesci somehow squeezes the mobster energy he’s known for into a PG movie without watering it down.
Though it’s infinitely quotable and family-friendly, this one isn’t for people who cringe when homes are ransacked. Who, exactly, is going clean up the mess? And what about all the water damage inflicted by the Wet Bandits? That’s a recipe for mold.
The Home Alone house has changed hands a couple of times since the film debuted in 1990, and if the buyers were smart, they hired a home inspector — and then another one just to be sure they weren’t about to close on a money pit.
Famous provenance or not, all prospective home buyers should call up an inspector before they sign anything. The Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors makes sure Florida inspectors know their stuff so buyers can rest easy. When they need a hand in Tallahassee, they call up David Ramba and Evan Power of Ramba Consulting Group.
‘Catch Me If You Can’
Maybe this one was Oscar bait, but can you really go wrong with a film that’s directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks? The based-on-a-true-story romp sees Hanks as an FBI agent chasing a fraudster across the country. DiCaprio’s character makes most of his cash masquerading as a Pan American pilot.
Pan Am was at one point the largest airline in the United States, though it went defunct 30 years ago. Thankfully, many of the airline’s pilots and flight attendants were able to swap their Pan Am lapel pins for Delta ones after that airline came to the rescue.
Delta — currently the largest U.S. carrier by most measures — is represented by the team at Capitol City Consulting, including Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace, Maicel Green, Andrew Ketchel, Jared Rosenstein and Christopher Schoonover.
This classic comedy was originally intended as another Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder romp, but we can’t imagine it without Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It’s a somewhat standard tale — Aykroyd is a yuppie banker, Murphy is a street hustler and, well, they trade places.
It’s all framed as a nature vs. nurture bet between two commodities brokers. They’re ultimately foiled after being tricked into making a bad deal for orange juice futures. Chances are the oranges in question were grown in Florida.
The citrus industry may be in a rough patch, but it’s still one of Florida’s signature crops, and the grove owners have lobbyists aplenty. One of the major players is Southern Gardens Citrus Groves Corporation. Its team includes Gregory Black of Waypoint Strategies; Stephen Dyal of Dyal Consulting; Eric Edwards; Mike Haridopolos; Richard Heffley and Kelly Horton of Heffley & Associates; Seth McKeel and Sydney Ridley of The Southern Group; Kirk Pepper of GrayRobinson; Christopher Smith of Tripp Scott; Screven Watson of Screven Watson & Associates. They also have the crews at The Mayernick Group and Floridian Partners on retainer.
Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece is the perfect pick for anyone who enjoys dark humor with a British flair. Central to the plot is a government that hasn’t implemented basic data management practices — a simple spelling error proves to be the downfall of a longtime, well-meaning government servant.
All of it could have been avoided had the nation contracted with Cellebrite, which has developed a full suite of tools to help federal, state and local law enforcement effectively manage data. Cellebrite’s lobbying team includes Alan Suskey and RJ Myers of Shumaker Advisors Florida as well as Richard Plotkin, Joseph Salzverg and Jason Unger of GrayRobinson.
The film also features Robert DeNiro as an unlicensed HVAC repair specialist. It’s an odd role, to be sure, but it’s a treat to watch the Academy Award-winning actor undermine Bob Hoskins — who should have won the Best Actor Oscar in 1987 — to repair a busted A/C unit.
Still, it’s strongly advised that you go with someone who knows what they’re doing if your unit ever needs service. The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association can probably point you in the right direction. They’re represented by Ron Pierce, Melody Arnold, Kaitlyn Bailey, Edward Briggs, Matt Herndon and Natalie King of RSA Consulting Group
There may be more articles about the “is it a Christmas movie?” debate than anyone has time to read, but at this point it’s settled. “Die Hard” is, indeed, a Christmas movie. Kind of.
For those who’ve been under a rock since 1988, the iconic movie launched Bruce Willis from the small screen to the silver one, setting him up for a decades-long career as an action movie star. His character checks off all the boxes for police tropes, if that’s your thing, and Alan Rickman plays one of the most delightfully evil villains in modern cinema.
Through its numerous sequels, John McClane waffles between the NYPD and LAPD. Had Florida’s new officer recruitment incentives been in place, however, he’d likely take his talents to the Sunshine State.
Florida’s major police unions are the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police. The former is represented by Brian Ballard and Mathew Forrest of Ballard Partners and Matt Pickett of Rutledge Ecenia in addition to a sizable in-house team. FOP is represented by Lisa Henning of Timmins Consulting.
Meanwhile, the Florida Police Chiefs Association is contracted with Fred Karlinsky and Timothy Stanfield of Greenberg Traurig as well as David Marsey of Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell.
‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’
This criminally underrated neo noir film will keep you guessing until the end. The film opens with Robert Downey Jr. burgling a toy store, which would be a third-degree felony in Florida thanks to the new organized retail theft law enacted this year. That measure was a priority for the Florida Retail Federation, which is represented by in-house advocates R. Scott Shalley, Lorena Holley, Grace Lovett, and Gina Sisk as well as Angela Bonds and French Brown of Dean Mead and Jon Johnson and Darrick McGhee of Johnson & Blanton.
Fair warning: if finger trauma is a trigger, as it is for at least one Florida Politics writer, there are a couple scenes where you’ll want to look away. Of course, if you ever do chop off a finger in the middle of the night, you’ll probably want to hit up the emergency room post-haste. The closest option will likely be an HCA facility seeing as the company has dozens of hospitals and free-standing emergency rooms across the state.
The Tennessee-based hospital has a large team of lobbyists on retainer, including Bill Rubin, Heather Turnbull, Melissa Akeson, Erica Chanti, Christopher Finkbeiner and Zachary Hubbard of Rubin Turnbull & Associates; Robert Beck and Tanya Jackson of PinPoint Results; David Custin; Stephen Ecenia and Gabriel Warren of Rutledge Ecenia; Lori Killinger and Chris Lyon of Lewis Longman & Walker; and Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick and Rob Johnson of The Mayernick Group.
The great thing about traditional effects is they hold up. The man behind the puppets, Chris Walas, was also the creature creator on ‘Return of the Jedi,’ ‘E.T. the Extraterrestrial’ and ‘The Fly’ — that’s quite the CV. They especially shine in the bar scene, where Phoebe Cates is slinging beers to dozens of small, green, violent monsters. There are Coors signs up all over the bar, but the FX and voice artists couldn’t stand the stuff — they recall getting into character with an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser.
That bit of trivia will probably put a smile on BillieAnne Gay’s face — she represents Anheuser-Busch in the Capitol. Others on the team include Stephen Shiver of The Advocacy Group, Tracy and Frank Mayernick, and Jonathan Rees of Smith Bryan & Myers.
‘Eight Crazy Nights’
Of course, Christmas is not the only holiday in December. Many Floridians are already celebrating Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Second Temple.
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many Hannukah movies — someone should get on that — but one of the best is ‘Eight Crazy Nights.’ The animated film starring Adam Sandler wasn’t a critical darling at release, but it’s since achieved cult status for its darkly comedic take on the holiday season.
Florida has one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States, behind only New York and California. There are many organizations representing local and regional Jewish communities, but at the statewide level the biggest name is the Florida Association of Jewish Federations. It is represented by Ellyn Bogdanoff, Bernie Friedman and Nicholas Matthews of Becker & Poliakoff.
December 23, 2022 at 8:54 am
What a bunch of bullshit!! It is the hard working people of the companies, Farmers, factory workers, trucking and delivery drivers that bring Christmas to us, not a bunch of jackass lobbyits!
Nothing more than mental masturbation for you and thes lobbyists!
cassandra of the swamp
December 23, 2022 at 5:58 pm
Agree! Also the railroad workers forced to work without sick leave because the “pro-labor party” (which I vote for) betrayed them to protect RR company profits!
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