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GOP hires VanSickle to handle media for Speaker-designate Cannon

If you are anyone in politics, you need a spokesperson. It's the ultimate indication that you are important. Welcome Rep. Dean Cannon to the club. The speaker-designate is hiring former Republican Party spokeswoman Erin VanSickle to do his talking -- at least to the press.

VanSickle, who runs a Tallahassee PR firm, will operate on contract as a consultant handling all media calls, press releases and communications strategy. The position is funded, at least in part, by the Republican Party of Florida.

Cannon's stock is rising in the year before he takes the helm of the Florida House. The Winter Park Republican also finds himself under increased scrutiny after he helped orchestrate the ouster of Jim Greer, the former party chairman, and took $655,000 from the party's fundraising coffers, which is the subject of an ethics complaint by his November opponent.

The move is sure to boost VanSickle's stature, too. Her clients already include the Florida Medical Association.

UPDATED 6:15 p.m.: The complaint filed against Cannon with the Commission on Ethics has been dismissed for being "legally insufficient." The Republican Party was also named in the complaint and that matter is still pending, though party treasurer Joel Pate is no longer named individually.