What do Florida lawmakers do when they are termed out? Well, if you're Seth McKeel of Lakeland, who served as House appropriations chair under House Speaker Will Weatherford, you become a lobbyist with one of the most powerful firms in the state.
McKeel and Laura Boehmer, a partner with the firm, will open a new Tampa office for Southern Strategy, according to Monday release by the firm. Making a surprise cameo in the release is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, who lauds McKeel, a Republican.
“Seth has been a great leader for Tampa Bay," Buckhorn says in the release. "He’ll be an asset to businesses and organizations throughout our region in his new role and I’m proud to welcome him and Southern Strategy Group to the Downtown Tampa business community.”
Now if we only knew what Weatherford planned to do next.
Here's the release:
SOUTHERN STRATEGY GROUP’S TAMPA BAY OFFICE WELCOMES SETH McKEEL
Florida’s largest and most influential lobbying firm, Southern Strategy Group, announced today that it has tapped Seth McKeel to be Managing Partner of its Tampa office, heading up the firm’s local and regional lobbying practice. McKeel will join veteran lobbyist and partner Laura Boehmer, and the team will open a new office in Downtown Tampa later this month.
Paul Bradshaw, the firm’s founder said, “Seth is respected as a leader at the local and state levels, and we are thrilled to have him leading our Tampa Bay team and helping clients in that important region of Florida.”
McKeel said “I’m honored to have been asked by the partners at Southern Strategy Group to lead the Tampa Bay office and so thankful for their trust in me. Kim and I are thrilled to begin to this exciting new chapter in our lives. Being a legislator was an extraordinary experience, but I’m looking forward to new opportunities and challenges in the private sector, to working in Tampa Bay and, most importantly, to being a more present husband and father.”
Tampa Mayor Buckhorn applauds the announcement and said: “Seth has been a great leader for Tampa Bay. He’ll be an asset to businesses and organizations throughout our region in his new role and I’m proud to welcome him and Southern Strategy Group to the Downtown Tampa business community.”
A small business leader and a 14-year veteran of public service in our state, McKeel is a fifth-generation Floridian. In 2006, McKeel was elected to the Florida House of Representatives following a five-year term on the Lakeland City Commission. Early in his legislative career McKeel tackled important issues facing Florida including natural resource development, energy independence, and higher education reform.
A commitment to fiscal responsibility earned him the trust of House Speaker Will Weatherford and in 2012 McKeel was named Chairman of the Florida House Appropriations Committee, a position he held until the conclusion of his term this year.
A graduate of the University of Florida, McKeel recently was awarded the Presidential Medallion, one of UF’s highest awards, for his contributions and service to UF and higher education in our state. He’s a Graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Lakeland and a member of Florida Blue Key. Seth and his wife Kim live in Lakeland and have one son, Seth III (8) and one daughter, Caroline (5).
About Southern Strategy Group
Southern Strategy Group is a full-service lobbying firm that was established in Tallahassee, Florida in 1999. It is the largest lobbying firm in the state with offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and Tampa Bay and has been referred to as “the most powerful lobbying firm in Florida” by the St. Petersburg Times. For more information, visit www.sostrategy.com.