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Movers and Shakers: FL Dems get new staffers, former journalist joins Florida Next

New lobbying firm crops up in Tallahassee

A lobbying firm staffed by eight political veterans launched in Tallahassee and Fort Lauderdale last week. Adams St. Advocates lobbyists include Robert Beck, Barney T. Bishop III, C. Marty Cassini, Claudia Davant, Candice Ericks, Dave Ericks, Jim Henry and Tanya Jackson. The firm is named after the road between the governor’s mansion and the Capitol.

The group is well-connected in Tallahassee. For example, Beck has worked in the state’s legislative and executive branches, serving under three governors. Bishop has been a registered lobbyist for more than 30 years and is the former president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF). Davant has served in both state and federal government and has held executive positions at AT&T and Accenture.

FL Dems get two new staffers

Finance Director Farley Griner and Deputy Communications Director David Bergstein both join the Florida Democratic Party.

A Gainesville native, Griner recently served as director of development for the Democratic Party of Oregon. Bergstein was press secretary for a successful, hotly-contested mayoral campaign in Indiana and worked in communications at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.  

Insurance Consumer Advocate office gains industry guru

 Insurance watchdog Robin Smith Westcott, Esq. named industry expert and former legislative-staffer Brian Deffenbaugh as senior council.

Deffenbaugh was an attorney in the Florida Senate, and for several committees in the House of Representatives. His resume includes leadership at the House of Representatives Insurance Committee, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Former journalist Victor Schaffner joins Florida Next

Award-winning journalist Victor Schaffner was named vice president for policy and outreach for Florida Next, a non-profit with a mission to re-envision Florida’s small businesses and quality of life. Schaffner, a former senior editorial writer with the Orlando Sentinel, will guide the foundation’s research and communications initiatives.

He also has covered or commented on public policy as a journalist in Albany, Ann Arbor, Louisville and Chicago.

New account executive for CoreMessage

Tallahassee public relations firm CoreMessage welcomes Lindsay Potvin, previous deputy communications director and social media director for the Florida Democratic Party.

She also worked for communications firm SalterMitchell, where she managed a diverse list of agency clients. She worked with one international client who fought to save the endangered rhino, and a national client who worked to keep families in danger of foreclosure in their homes.

Her agency experience yielded several awards, including a Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award.

NSI Florida names new consultant

Erin Choy comes to NSI, a national business-to-government consulting firm, from Florida Tax Watch. She will be a government markets consultant.

There, she coordinated the company’s membership events and ran its social media websites.

She also worked with clients such as Publix Super Markets and Walt Disney World to recommend sound fiscal and business policy at the state level.

Times reporter Katie Sanders has passed the Movers and Shakers baton. Please pass all new personnel changes to Times/Herald reporter Brittany Alana Davis at bdavis@tampabay.com.