Miami-Dade County commissioners wrapped up a day of lobbying Wednesday night with a mojito-fueled reception at the swanky-for-a-federal-government-building "Gold Room" in the Rayburn building.
The digs were a decided step up from last year's reception - held in the Rayburn cafeteria. Miami Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek couldn't help but note the difference, noting the room boasted a balcony and that commissioners on this trip had met with a number of high-ranking officials, chief among them, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who welcomed the group at a luncheon at the Capitol.
"Something happened in November," Meek said. "Things are different."
At the lunch, Pelosi, the first female House Speaker, autographed a napkin for commissioner Sally Heyman and heaped praise on Meek and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, both Pelosi allies who stood on the House floor night after night railing against the GOP before the C-Span cameras.
"Kendrick Meek says there aren't many delegations who could get the speaker to come by," Pelosi said. "There aren't too many delegations that have a Kendrick Meek."
The reception, co-hosted by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, also attracted a number of administration officials with Miami ties, including FEMA director David Paulison and Emilio Gonzalez, head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.