Sarasota News Leader

04/11/2014

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Government Consultant Amanda Wood served as a legislative director for Sen. Bob Graham, DFla., and she has worked exten sively on Floridacentric legislation, dealing with issues such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Greene says the firm handles federal lobbying for about eight or 10 cities and coun ties in Florida. Steube tells the News Leader having a local connection between the county and its lob byists should be "productive," emphasizing as well that he is "not a federal lobbyist." He sees his role as one in which he'll "guide and help the commission on the issues that affect Sarasota County" and communicate county needs to D.C. "Our guys are very keyed into the issues that are going on up there," Steube says. Sarasota County Director of Community and Intergovernmental Relations Rob Lewis tells the News Leader the firm's main task is to be the county's "eyes and ears" in D.C. Recent issues such as spiking flood insurance premiums and removing tax exemptions on municipal bonds can have a major effect on local governments, Lewis says. And it's not just Congress Becker & Poliakoff will be monitoring. With the new Benderson Park rowing facility coming online and inter national events planned for the park, Lewis anticipates close coordination with the State and Homeland Security departments. The law firm will also be on the ground to make sure the county is heard in decisions on housing and transportation programs. Steube says keeping an eye out for any "unfunded man dates" that may be handed down by federal rule makers is a major priority. Lewis notes that it's "nice" Becker & Poliakoff has a Sarasota presence, but the county's daytoday work will still be directly with the firm's Washington office. In the scor ing system county staffers used to evaluate five lobbyist proposals, the firm earned two bonus points for "local preference," but those points didn't make a substantial difference in the overall scoring. The county's longtime reps at Holland & Knight placed third in the tabulation. % A new firm will be lobbying for Sarasota County at the U.S. Capitol. Photo by synty-tact via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader April 11, 2014 Page 24

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