Southern Strategy Group Gets Big Bucks to Push Legislation in Tallahassee
Around the State
One of the largest lobbying firms is Southern Strategy Group. With a team of 18 lobbyists, the firm has played a part in a variety of legislation in Florida since it was founded in 1999. With five different offices throughout the state and several other offices scattered throughout the South, the firm ranks No. 8 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbyists in Florida.
Some notable names at Southern Strategy include former Attorney General Jim Smith, who joined the firm in 2011. Smith has been involved in Florida politics for many years, holding a variety of positions in state government, having served as Florida’s secretary of state, chief of staff to the governor, deputy secretary of commerce, and assistant secretary of state.
In 2012, the firm brought in $3.9 million in legislative fees -- or about $216,000 per lobbyist.
Last year, Southern Strategy Group had 18 lobbyists working at the firm, which represented a wide clientele including United Insurance, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, Blue Cross, Disney, and Apple. In total, the firm represented 123 different clients, second highest of any lobbying firm in the state.
Bradshaw attributes Southern Strategy’s success with having a team of former public officials drawn from the top ranks of government and political campaigns. Because of their close connection with the government through past experience, the firm’s lobbyists are knowledgeable and are able to foster powerful relations, extending from the executive suite all the way to the cubicles in the basement of an agency.
“These relationships often make the critical difference between success and failure in lobbying,” said Bradshaw. “We also have lobbyists who understand that politics play a role in the development of policy, and being able to navigate Florida’s thicket of political relationships and agendas is critical to successful lobbying.”
Southern Strategy Group also knows that Florida politics can change in the blink of an eye -- something becoming more and more evident in recent years. Lobbyists at Southern Strategy Group have to be able to adapt quickly to an ever-changing political world.
“Successful organizations intuitively understand that Florida government is too large, complex, and rapidly changing to be effectively lobbied by one person or even a small team,” he said.
Their size, Bradshaw says, allows them to cover all their bases and be the most effective lobbying firm possible.
“If you want to fight a battle, the first step is to hire an army. Southern Strategy Group is that army. And, it helps when that army consists of seasoned veterans. Our approach is why, by most objective measures, Southern Strategy Group is the largest lobbying firm in Florida and has been in the top tier of lobbying firms for more than a decade.”
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.