Sarasota News Leader

04/11/2014

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The Sarasota County Commission this week finalized its latest contract for federal lobby ing, awarding the work to a new firm — one with ties to a local state representative — for the first time in almost two decades. Between 1996 and 2013, the commission had tasked the powerful international law firm Holland & Knight with representing the coun ty's interests in D.C., but through a Request for Quotation process begun last fall, county staff decided to go in a different direction, and it recommended the county hire Becker & Poliakoff instead. Unlike Holland & Knight, Becker & Poliakoff actually runs a Sarasota office, and it employees state Rep. Greg Steube, who works as an attorney when he is not in Tallahassee. The contract will pay Becker & Poliakoff up to $10,000 each month, plus travel expenses, which are capped at $10,000 annually. It's a threeyear deal, with options for extensions after it expires. Becker & Poliakoff Marketing Director Susan Greene tells The Sarasota News Leader she believes the firm's local connections gave it an advantage over competitors. She calls Steube a "local liaison" for the firm and also emphasizes the Washington office's deep ties to Florida politics. Becker & Poliakoff Florida Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. Photo by Meredith Geddings, via myfloridahouse.gov SARASOTA COUNTY PICKS NEW FEDERAL LOBBYING FIRM WITH TIES TO LOCAL STATE REP D.C. DECISION By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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