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'DAS CAPITOL' The historic Florida Capitol stands in front of the newer legislative building. Image from iStockphoto THE COUNTY COMMISSION PONDERS HOW TO BEST LOBBY TALLAHASSEE By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor How best to be heard in Tallahassee? That was one of the topics of conversation during the Sarasota County Commission's recent retreat, when board members suggested a variety of ways to switch up their lobbying strategy to make sure their priorities get addressed. that affect county governments around the state. At least that's what it's supposed to do. Robinson said the conversation during FAC meetings is based on who shows up, and that Commissioner Christine Robinson added the smaller, rural counties such as Hardee often discussion to the Dec. 5 retreat agenda as part of have an outsized voice in the organization. a larger conversation about the commission's Their elected officials show up in force, she participation in a variety of organizations. She pointed out. Telling her fellow commissioners serves on the Florida Association of Counties' that Sarasota is in sync with FAC "97 percent of the time," Robinson Public Safety commitnevertheless said she tee and also acts as a I've actually made it a point not to felt like she was in a district representative for the organization. go to Tallahassee because of the way they "David and Goliath position" during FAC FAC — as the asso- operate. meetings. ciation is known Joe Barbetta Commissioner — lobbies state lawIn addition to their Sarasota County makers on the issues work with FAC, many

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