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Floridian Partners Helping Turn Legislative Wheels in Tallahassee

October 4, 2013 - 6:00pm

With a heavy presence in both Tallahassee and South Florida, and anewly opened office in Tampa, Floridian Partners LLC ranks No. 10 on the list ofSunshine State News top lobbyists in the Sunshine State.

Floridian Partners is made up of a team of lobbyists with awide variety of experience in legislative affairs. Some lobbyists atthe firm, like Gary Guzzo, are longtime lobbyists. Guzzo has beenworking in the business for 35 years.

Managing partner Charlie Dudley has a long history in Floridapolitics. Like many other high-profile lobbyists in Florida, he gothis start when his father, former Sen. Fred Dudley,campaigned for office in 1982. Dudley is also an attorney withexperience in communications and administrative law in Tallahassee --experience he obtained in part through his time working hands-on in the Legislature as an aide to former Rep. Don Reed, who was generalcounsel for Florida Cablevision. Dudley has been working in lobbyingfor over 30 years.

These days, he now serves as the general counsel and chief lobbyist for one of Floridian Partners top clients, the Florida CableTelecommunications Association (FCTA).

In lobbying disclosure forms filed with the state for 2012, Floridian Partners had a total of ninelobbyists working in its offices in Tallahassee and in South Florida. Led by Dudley, the lobbying firm banked $1.9 million in legislative lobbying fees in2012 -- or $207,778 per lobbyist.

According to Dudley, Floridian Partners has seen steady growth instate government work, but the firm has experienced its largest growth in local government practice and in general consulting and public affairswork.

Floridian Partners has a wide variety of clientele, from insurancecompanies, banks and several prominent energy companies throughout theSunshine State. Some of Floridian Partners high-profile clientsinclude Broward Health, Tampa Electric Company (TECO) and FloridaCable Telecommunications Association. All in all, Floridian Partnershad 51 different clients in 2012, with the average client retainer coming in at$37,000 per client.

Floridian Partners has grown over the past year and has added two lobbyists this year, bringing the firm's total up to 11 lobbyistsworking at the firm, with offices in Tallahassee, Miami, FortLauderdale and Tampa.

Speaking with Sunshine State News, Dudley said part of what makes hislobbying firm a top shop is the fact that clients can get legalservices on top of lobbying services, something not everylobbying firm in Florida offers.
Dudley says there are several reasons for Floridian Partners greatsuccess throughout the years. One of them is that many members of the firm are attorneys and highly specialized intheir fields.

We have lobbyists who are either attorneys and/or specialists withdeep backgrounds in the areas in which they practice, he explained. Were working with clients year-round, andwe really understand their business. We understand how the legislativeand regulatory environment ... would impact [clients'] business,and we are able to work with them because we have that knowledge. Wedont have to wait on general counsel to help us redraft something orto explain why its so critical to our clients interests.

Dudley also said such specialty helps when working with legislativeand regulatory staff.

Because of communication with attorneys, "were able towork with regulatory and legislative staff on the actual details of [legislative] proposals, and I think thats something clients reallyappreciate, Dudley said.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen atallison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

How we rated lobbyists:
Sunshine State News staff and researchers analyzed thousands Floridas legislative lobbying compensation reports filed within the databases and official records maintained by Online Sunshine and the Florida Lobbyist Registration Office in Tallahassee.In order to determine SSNs rankings, we considered a combination of three factors: a firms total billings, a firms average client annual retainer and the sum of a firms total 2012 fees divided by the number of lobbyists it employed last year.

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